Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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I Think My Bathroom Scale is Broken

Over the course of our our eleven day holiday I missed three days of running. The most common reason for a missed run over the past few years is early morning travel. I am a morning runner and find it very difficult to do a run once the days activities are set in motion.

We traveled to Portland, Oregon, Juneau, Haines and Skagway in Alaska, then Whitehorse, followed by a half day visit to Vancouver.

Missed Day #1 – We had to leave our home at 6 a.m. to catch our flight to Portland. Missed Day #2 In Haines, Alaska, we left our motel at 5:30 a.m. to catch a fast-ferry to Skagway.  Missed Day #3 A 6:00 a.m. departure from our lodgings in Whitehorse to catch our Vancouver flight.

Blue Heron, Juneau

I’ve described our run in Portland and here are photos from the run that followed in Juneau.  Spotted on the run were these four blue heron, the only heron seen on this trip.  On my last trip to Juneau, I was staying at a lodge quite a way out of the city and I saw a bald eagle and twice, a pod of orcas.  No such luck this time.

Those sightings took place in early spring, when bears were not as active and probably hibernating, or so I told myself. I would not have ventured out on the roads in that quieter area of Juneau otherwise.

This  Juneau run was 2.5 miles through the main street of town, through a souvenir store and along the waterfront. I ran through a gauntlet of large ravens which would definitely scare off anyone with ornithophobia.

Ravens to the right, ravens to the left.

A Waterfront Stretch in Juneau

This first morning in Juneau was much enjoyed as our late evening arrival in Juneau introduced us to the rough edges of the city that appear once the cruise ships depart. There is urban sprawl in Juneau and the downtown has suffered in that it caters almost exclusively to tourists in the day and seems a bit like a deserted and rundown, Disneyland set in the later evening. In the early morning, locals heading off to work abound and chit chat in the local coffee shop was congenial and lively.

I was motivated to do a short run in anticipation of brunch at my brother’s favourite Juneau breakfast place, The Sandpiper.

My breakfast of corn beef hash and poached eggs was tasty although was quite far off the scrumptious version dished out by Kenny and Zuke’s in Portland which at $11.45 was $2.50 cheaper than the Sandpiper’s version. Alaska can be fairly pricey.  Portland’s version of corn beef hash is to Alaska’s, as king crab is to non-king-crab. Read the review, “Can the Jewish Deli be Reformed?” from the NY Times.

Portlandia Corned Beef Hash $11.45

Alaskan Corned Beef & Hash $13.95

Corn beef hash, Alaskan style $13.95

Scrumptious and leisurely breakfasts are one of the best parts of vacationing. On our last day in Portland I ordered corn beef hash and cheese blintzes.  Yes, I confess that with minimal worries about weight gain, I am a bit of a piglet.  Although, I’m still tending towards the broken-scale theory as I can’t figure out how I gained five pounds on our fairly active vacation.

Cheese Blintzes a breakfast dessert

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Pitching Portland

Japanese garden, Washington park

Until recently, I had a vague notion that I might like to visit Eugene, Oregon one day being a famous runner’s city but Portland was just a name.  I asked my brother who lives in the Yukon whether he thought we would enjoy visiting Anchorage, Alaska and I received a flurry of emails detailing the wonders of Portland.  We spoke on the phone and he assured me that I would love it and if I didn’t love it, he would give me my money back.

Early morning hang-out, THE NINES lobby

And that is how we ended up sipping coffee in the lobby of the ultra-hip THE NINES hotel.  My brother sent me a Hotwire alert that was offering rooms at THE NINES for nearly half price.  The same price as what we will pay for a very modest rooms in Juneau and Haines in Alaska and where the internet will probably not be free.  So we arrived mid-afternoon on Thursday and fly to Juneau, late Sunday afternoon through Seattle, touching down in Juneau around the time the sun will set.

In pitching Portland to me, Jack described the city as being very Lynn-esque.  Hmm, my husband and I have been mulling this one over, and he says, “Well, not my Lynn particularly.”  The key elements, I think are a bike, runner friendly place with great coffee and bookstores, extensive public transit and casual outdoorsy feel.  But, the birthplace of grunge and a skateboarders haven, not really.  I’m definitely into low-risk sports and if pressed, would have to name jazz as my favourite music.  On the other hand I was a huge fan of Patti Smith when in art school and her bio was the top seller at Powell Books, which is a far better showing than on the NYT best seller list.

So, so good . . . going back for more.

Highlights so far have been; Powell Books, which far outstrips the Strand in New York City, the Japanese gardens in Washington Park, the amazing light rail transit, Stumptown coffee at the ACE Hotel and the best cheese blintzes ever at Kenny and Zuke’s deli just a door away from the ACE Hotel.

A time to blog and a time to RUN!

So much to do, and so much to report but I have a run to get in so gotta go . . . adios!