Running Wild Alaska - Page 4
Loreen Hewitt, 57, Greensburg, PA
What’s your day job?
I am a speech/language pathologist, but I have not worked at that since our oldest were born almost 28 years ago. I guess I am a stay-at-home mom without children at home! I do babysit for our 22-month-old grandson on Wednesdays, though.
Why are you running the ITI?
I grew up in Michigan and spent a lot of time in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I feel that parts of Alaska remind me of that. I’ve always loved winter and snow, and I view the ITI as an adventure, not a race. It’s simple, in a way, compared to daily life. You have most of what you need with you, right behind you on a sled. You alone are responsible for your food and shelter and your progress. The people in the race, the race directors, and the people in Alaska are great.
How have you been training up to this point?
Training until this point has been my usual running—I run six days per week. Since I’ve gotten older, my mileage has decreased a lot, and now I run 40 to 45 miles a week. Soon I’ll start pulling my sled on the snowmobile trails on Laurel Mountain (in southwestern Pennsylvania) once a week for three to five hours at a time.
What supplies will you carry?
I carry a -60 degree sleeping bag, ground pad, a stove that uses white gas, a cooking pot, a Thermos, a Nalgene bottle, clothing, snowshoes, a headlight, batteries and food on my sled. I will also have a GPS device with some waypoints to give me an idea of direction. But since the trail changes from year to year, I can't get the exact route on the device.
What’s your favorite food to eat to keep you going in the intense cold?
You need to eat food with lots of fat and protein. I’ll aim for 4,000 calories a day. I use freeze-dried meals, nuts, candy, Shot Bloks and peanut butter. Unfortunately, eating is my biggest problem in the ITI—I can't seem to eat enough or drink enough on the trail, but I’m fine when we have an opportunity to eat real food at some of the checkpoints. I’m still searching for the solution to getting in enough calories. This year I’m taking a thermos to keep water somewhat hot. Hopefully it helps me drink more.
How do your kids feel about you and your husband running 1,000 miles through Alaska in the middle of winter?
Our kids feel that it’s normal for us, but they do worry about it sometimes. Still, they accept it because it makes us happy.