I woke this morning at 3 am to get ready for a mountain trail race. My running pal, Bertha and I joined a handful of other early birds in the Boise foothills for the start of the Shaffer Butte 52 mile race. We did not intend to run the entire thing – but had hoped to get in as many miles as possible on these challenging trails this morning before I had to meet my husband and kids and take them to a local children’s race at 10 am.
It was totally dark at 5 am when we started. It was so foggy out, you couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of you in the dark. It was eerie and exciting. My buddy and I were the only females who showed up this morning. We were in awe of other male runners who intended to run the entire 52, technical miles in those mountains! They are our heros!
As the sun slowly came up this morning, the scenery was spectacular! I really felt I was transported to Ireland with rolling green hills in every direction, a thousand clouds in the sky and the blush of orange and pink of a morning sunrise coming over the mountain tops. I’m not sure what the elevation gain was of the portion of the race we ran, but I’m sure it was a lot. We were running above the clouds for much of the morning, enjoying the pleasure of knowing that most of the residents of Boise, far off in the distant city (or so it seemed) were peacefully slumbering while we were slipping and sliding up and down mountain trails before dawn.
As anyone who has ever run a race in the mountains will attest to – we struggled to keep up much of a reasonable pace on the uphills at all despite the fact that our hearts were beating fiercely in our chest. We spent much of those uphills hunched over our knees like little grannies, huffing and puffing to get up the top of each incline (and there were so many I couldn’t even begin to count them all!!) On the flip side, the downhills were wild and crazy running sprees along singletrack, muddy, rocky trail that left you breathless and smiling when the fun ended at an incline again. I love the downhill, though my hips and lower back may argue about that. I often feel just like I’m in the wilderness alone on these types of runs (which today was actually the case, since my buddy and I saw practically no one for four hours out there). My buddy and I occasionally got separated, and I’d stop and stare back into the thick fog wondering if she were even there. When I’d cup my hands to my mouth and yell her name, it would echo. It was pretty cool!
One huge highlight of our run this morning was the adorable visit we had with a resident gopher I spotted while waiting for my friend. He was SO cute and kept popping his little head out of his burrow to peek at us. My friend had to take his picture, since he was such a fun little fellow to look at and we knew our children would enjoy seeing him, too.
A very tough run — with some spectacular scenery! I can’t wait to do it again!
I also did 2.5 extra miles as cool down throughout the day. I walked .26 after the mountain run waiting for Wayne to pick me up, then took the three older kids to their 1 mile race today. (1600 kids signed up!!! Crazy!!!) Once I got the kids situation, I had to walk from the start to the finish. I got lost. That walk was 1.5. After the race (the kids all finished and had so much fun!!!) we had to walk another .5 – .75 mile to the van.
Believe it or not, my day was not over then. We, then headed to Jr’s baseball end-of-season party and game (parents vs the kids.) It was fun and everyone had a good time – but I was still wearing my muddy, sweaty, bloody running things from earlier in the day (my ankles got bloody from wearing short race socks with my new trail shoes today.) I’m sure I made a great impression on the other baseball parents.
Anyways… I’m home now! I’ve had a bath and I’m so ready for a nap!!!