Usually when I run the foothills, the paces are closer to 14 min miles. They are SO steep going up, most runners power hike them up with their hearts beating crazy loud. When you stand at the bottom and look up at the mountains, you almost strain your neck. And, halfway through the run, you are standing wayyyy on the top of those mountains looking DOWN at the city far below and it looks so tiny.
When I’m running down the switchbacks on the hills, my paces often reach 5 and 6 min miles. I’m zooming, flying down a single track trail with jutted rocks and mud and sand and roots and sticks everywhere. Each quick step is a risk – If I pick wrong I fall down hard. But, I rarely fall. It’s weird. I feel like a gazelle on those things. It looks kind of scary. On one side is a steep mountain, so you can’t really fall into it easily and the other side is often a canyon-type area, so if I fell I could roll a bit down into the gully and have to climb/hike back up to where I’d been running if I lost my balance. But, I love it! Love it like crazy! I feel WILD when I run there!!! And, I giggle when those who aren’t from the area talk about pace on these mountain trails. No one cares about pace when we’re up there. We just want to stay upright and get to the beautiful scenery at the top. Sometimes we see wild life – snakes, gophers, deer, cougars (thankfully they are nocturnal so that doesn’t happen often!) and possums. Yesterday I saw a huge pile of balck volcanic rocks right next to a little lake. I just wanted to stop and stare it was so pretty! The fall colors are especially vibrant right now in Boise. Our town is nicknamed “The City of Trees” and looking down on those trees in Autum is such a treat – gold and red and brown and green. The prairie grasses on each side of the path are almost elbow high now — pale, wheat-colored and they tickle my elbows as I pass. Some of the foothills have sufferred wild fires this summer and those stretches are pitch black, with our dirt trail – maybe 10 inches wide a ribbon right down the center of this dark field. It’s sad, but it’s common and we’re used to it here. And, it looks kind of cool in a way — so different from the scenery all around it. Strange and different.
Sometimes up there in the foothills, we get up early enough on certain days and run ABOVE the clouds! Those are my favorite mornings.
You totally have to come run with my pals and I sometime. I promise you’ll love and hate it and want to come back for more!
Here’s a few pictures to help you guys visualize what it’s like:
Boise is home to lots of cyclists too. We are often dodging them on our runs. I’ve always encountered lots of friendly people and every shares the trails really well here in my experience.