Friday, September 21, 2012

Mud Guppies

I've never heard anyone here in Alaska say anything about mud guppies, but where I grew up in New England we were obsessed with them when we were kids.  You could go out and root around in the swamp behind the school and find all kinds of little tadpoles, pollywogs, mutant fish, and other strange little animals squirming around in that brackish water.  And mud guppies had all kinds of uses.  You could bring them into the lunch room and put them in someone's spaghetti-o's.  You could put them down the back of a classmate's shirt during a spelling test.  The list goes on and on... 

Last winter Anchorage broke the all-time snowfall record.  A couple months ago, I think we had the coldest July in history.  And with all the storms we're getting now, we must be on track to beat the September rainfall record.  It's been insane:  trees blowing over, rivers and streams flooding.  Today, the town of Seward closed school and sections of the road were washing away.  Yesterday, the UAA team rollerskied through a puddle that was deeper than ski-boot deep.  On our way to practice today, Galen was showing me pictures from his hometown of Talkeetna, two hours north of Anchorage by car, where the roads were underwater.  Driving home after practice, they made an announcement over the radio that the entire town of Talkeetna is being evacuated this afternoon because the river has breached its banks and is flooding into town! 

Marine told me that she's never seen so much rain and she's shopping for a full-spectrum light so she doesn't get too depressed.  I try to tell her that's it's not usually so rainy here, but I don't think she believes me. 

But this morning, the rain stopped!  I saw the sun and at first I didn't know what it was.  Our practice today was a 2-hour run with plyometric excercises in the middle of the workout.  Running on the trails, it was kind of hard to stay dry with all those puddles out there.  At one point I heard a shriek, looked behind me, and saw Karina up to her waist in mud.  It was like the LaBrea tar pits out there.  I thought maybe we were going to lose Karina - that she'd be found thousands of years from now by an archaeologist, just like they're now finding those saber-tooth tigers in LaBrea.

...And is the part of our team that didn't get muddy.

Tonight's weather forecast:  Rain with wind up to 65 mph on the upper hillside.  I can already see the clouds coming in.  In fact, I just looked out my office window and realized that it's already started raining again...

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