Bertha, Boiled Potatoes and Big Mountains

Bertha and I hadn’t had a run with just the two of us since January. We were long overdue to catch up and enjoy some miles together. We headed to the Boise foothills this morning and ran 15 miles of trails, heading up every single mountain we had the opportunity to climb, goggling up elevation gain like it was candy. The first five miles we actually hiked, since we had so much chit-chatting to do and that’s hard to do when running single file on singletrack trail. Once we were caught up, though, we got down to business and started working hard on the climbs. We climbed high enough that at one point, I looked to my left and saw a hawk flying just a few feet from where I stood. That’s how you know you’ve done some climbing when you are face to face with flying birds!! We made it all the way to the “Christmas tree” — this lone, big, bushy pine tree that really stands out on the mountaintop amongst the miles of sagebrush-covered land. From that vantage point, we could look down at Boise and all across the valley spread out below. It was beautiful! We could see snow caps on the nearby mountains and the sagebrush had an almost violet tint to it in the sunlight as far as the eye could see. I spotted white, purple and yellow wild flowers along the path today, as well, which was a nice reminder that spring has arrived (though, considering the 40ish temperatures and 20 mph winds we faced for much of the run, was hard to believe.)

The best treat today was Bertha’s surprise food spread in her Camelbak! She had packed 3 baked potatoes in foil! You would not believe how delicious a boiled potato tastes after a few hours on the trail! Mmmm mmm. They were good! She also shared some Endurolyte capsules with me. I noticed my hands were swelling after a couple of hours of climbing and within 15 minutes of taking two of the capsules with some water, I was amazed to see them return to normal size. I will definitely be picking some up the next time I’m at the Pulse running store!

I kept a close eye again on my heart rate today, again. I am determined to learn to keep it in check and not to overdo the way I did on the early climbs at Orcas Island where I nearly blacked out when my heart rate went a little crazy and I was seeing spots. I know I was pushing too hard that day and need to pay attention to what my body is telling me and learn to work with that info. On my run on Wednesday (also 15 miles in the mountains with similar elevation gain), I tried to keep my average heart rate at 150 or below (my max is about 200.) I finished Wednesday’s run with a 149 average and was feeling strong enough to bust out an 8:30 pace in the last mile on the road before finishing and didn’t suffer much soreness afterwards. Today was very similar. My average heart rate was 147 and I felt very strong on the entire way back from the turn around spot. I ran the downs hard and fast and made myself run all but one uphill on the way back (Bertha and I were chatting on that final one.) I felt strong. I felt focused and in control and like I could do more. This is a good base to build upon for the next 7 weeks leading up to my first 50 mile race at Big Horn!

Bertha was awesome today! She hadn’t ran much in the last 3 weeks and today she was hoping I’d help bump up her mileage and we totally did! She was feeling it by the last two miles, so I found a funny way to keep her moving forward. I had promised to buy her cheeseburgers, fries and a soda after the run, so every time she wanted to walk, I’d turn back and start repeating, “Cheeeesseeeburger!!!!!” She’d grin and start jogging again. When she started to walk again, I’d say, “Freeennnch friesss. Mmmmmmm But you have to follow me to get them.” ha ha ha. We had some good laughs about how motivating a tasty meal can be after running for 5 hours! 🙂

I, did, in fact make good on my promise too. We got in on the good Big Mac Meal $2.99 deal at McD’s and glowed in our accomplishment as we drove back home, satisfied from a good days’ running.

Stats: 15 miles. 4:50 total time (3:54 moving time) 19:20 pace (15:36 moving pace) Best pace: 5:55. Total Elevation Gain: 3,004 ft. Max Elevation: 5415 ft. Felt: Awesome!

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