15 June 2008

Ah, snow...

An itty-bitty snow storm on Tuesday was almost enough to ruin my entire spring/summer (more photos) . Emotional recovery has been slow, but I'm doing okay now.

I've had a bit of a cold this week and have been tired on my runs. Still putting in the miles (another 50+ week) but just not pushing it as hard.

Sadie and I were back on the trails yesterday. I'm less than a month away from the Iceland race, and just a month and a half away from the White River 50, my biggest challenge yet. I feel lucky to have some good trails to train on for these upcoming mountain runs. I don't have nearly as much vertical gain as I'm going to see at the White River 50, but it's good training.

We ran a very tiring 28 miles yesterday. At about 20 I wanted to just lay down on the trail and take a nap. But I wanted to go home too bad to stop. I felt weak. From the cold or the miles?... Sadie set another distance PR. She's a running rock star. The streams on the mountain are getting lower. These are Sadie's drinking fountains. By next month most of them will be dried up and I'll have to carry extra water for her. Yesterday I went through about 80 oz. myself. An aid station or two would have been very, very nice.

Hmm, is this the work of my semi-virtual-nemesis?

Sadie the rock star.

Keep running!


08 June 2008

Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

Most of my trail runs are on the little bump of Idaho land called Moscow Mountain. Little did I know of the incredible danger I've been facing each time I've set foot on this, as I call it now, "mountain of impending doom." While doing a bit of trail research the other day I came across an interesting thread. Yes, Bigfoot lives on Moscow Mountain, or at least visits on holiday. So each time I come back from a trail run it's basically like I've cheated death.

Sadie and I had a long trail run scheduled for Saturday. The weather was looking cold and wet and windy; perfect Bigfoot weather. And cold and wet and windy it was. Running is fun. So is raining, especially for things that need it to survive and grow. Like plants, etc.

My legs felt as light as they have in months. Sadie is happy when my legs are feeling good because it means we get to run farther and longer. And going farther and longer means we get to explore new trails. My goal was to run to the highest point on the mountain. I've never been to the top since I've been running there because I've never been able to get that far (and get back to the car, too).

We found some beautiful single-track trails on the way across the ridge to the summit. A website said there was an old lookout near the summit that had spectacular views. I wasn't too sure of the direction I was going in because there were several logging road intersections and no signs. So I kept taking the way that looked like it was going up.

Eventually we came to a closed gate that said "Private Property - No trespassing. Foot traffic welcome." I thought it was really nice of them to allow hikers to pass through. Then, we came across this on the side of the trail:

Someone just ran out of gas, right?...

Hmm, I hummed to myself. There's something a little fishy about an abandoned motorcycle this high on the mountain. But we kept on. Then we saw this:

No caption necessary

An old snowmobile hanging from a tree. Not quite something I was expecting to see. Daring art, or warning sign? I was now beginning to wonder if the whole "foot traffic welcome" was a ruse to lure unsuspecting feet in-gulp. Or, even worse, did the Bigfoot learn how to write?...

I decided to keep moving forward, though. Sadie wasn't too scared and I usually take my cues from her when we're on the trails. And she can be pretty skittish, usually. But she was doing fine until a few hundred yards later we saw this:

Now that's what I call a monster truck.
(Seriously, I called it that when I ran by.)

We reached the lookout, which looked abandoned, apart from monster truck parked outside and the smoke coming from a chimney. I thought I saw a shadowing figure in the window but didn't stick around long enough to see whether it was Bigfoot or just a crazy mountain person who likes to eat hikers and trail runners.

We quickly went around the "abandoned" lookout and headed up the trail some more. At this time I really had no idea where we were in terms of the summit. But the trail kept climbing so we kept going. The summit is listed just under 5,000 feet. We got to a point at the top of the trail where all trails led down. My garmin said we were at 4,985 feet, so I figured we were at the top. The view was wonderful:

I can see my house from here!

I think Sadie may have spotted Bigfoot.

As we began our descent it started snowing. Yes, snow on June 7th. It was awesome. Have I ever mentioned how much I love snow? When we left the car a couple hours earlier the temperature read 39 degrees. Cold and wet and windy.

We sprinted by the lookout (no figure in the window this time) and followed our way back down. A few miles later we had dropped below the clouds and there was a nice view:

That's Moscow, ID in the background.

All in all a very good run. We didn't get eaten by Bigfoot and Sadie set her mileage PR. 25 miles! Her previous best was 23.something. She had a blast but I think she was a little tired.

Here are some charts and maps from the run:

View Larger Map

Back to back 50+ mile weeks and I'm feeling good. Keep running!