A Hike at Swan Falls and Initial Point

I wanted to see some new sights, so Wayne and I loaded up the five kids into the Suburban and headed out in search of adventure and great scenery (and hopefully a little family bonding as well.) I think we got what we came for. It was a beautiful, sunny day, punctuated with just a few minutes of rain showers.  I enjoyed the car ride, the silly games the kids were playing as we rode along and the camaraderie with my family.

Our first stop was Swan Falls, a hydroelectric dam on the Snake River. The rocky canyons, the gorgeous water and the rugged roads all made for an exciting time.  We hiked across the dam and down a trial, enjoying many opportunities for family photos.

On the way back home, we followed a sign that pointed us to “Initial Point” – a volcanic cinder hill that is the point of origin for all Idaho surveys. The road was really steep and rugged and I was grateful we were driving the Suburban since it has 4 wheel drive! I got out and walked ahead making sure we didn’t encounter another car on the way up. That also gave me a great opportunity to take a few pictures of the wide, rolling prairie below. It was gorgeous!


An Anton Krupicka Inspired Run

I wanted to run free. I wanted to run wild. I wanted to run Anton Krupicka style! For those who are unfamiliar with Anton, he’s one of the top trail ultra-marathon runners in the United States.  He looks like a Greek god – or more accurately – a Jewish King – since his shoulder length, flowing brown hair and beard make him look a whole lot like Jesus Christ. That is, if Jesus didn’t mind being seen in short shorts and without a shirt while running up and down mountain trials as fast as a gazelle.

Every time I see a picture of Anton running through the mountains with his hair flying back, it just makes me grin. He seems like such a free spirit – a wild, free, nature child!

So, today, when I woke up to my usual Diana Ross natural hairdo, I decided for once not to fight it. I didn’t go searching for a ponytail holder or a hat. I decided to let my hair fly free like Anton’s!

I ran in the countryside today. I awoke before my husband or children were even out of bed and I headed out into the crisp morning air for a few miles of solitude before the day began. It was a new sensation to feel my long, brown curls bouncing against my back and shoulders as I jogged along. It felt good! It was fun! It made me smile.

I can’t wait to run Anton-style again soon! I did pick up some cute $1 bandanas at Wal Mart this afternoon to help hold back the bangs and to keep the front of my hair out of my face, but I’m going to try letting the back of my long, curly hair fly free again soon!

Stats: 5.52 miles Pace: 13:33. Time: 1:14 Felt: A sick stomach so had to walk a lot/otherwise pretty good. Ave HR: 127


Wii Fit Plus Yoga, Strength and Super Hula Hoops

30 min. 4 stars on Super  Hula Hoops and Jack Knives. Yay! 🙂 Love how the yoga and the hula hooping loosens up the tight hip flexors. The kids always want a turn after they see me “playing” with the wii fit plus!  Anything that encourages them to implement more movement into their day is a positive as far as I’m concerned. Jr’s in love with the boxing. I think I should do that one next time. It’s a great workout! Rebecca’s still the champ by 3 spins on the Super Hula Hoop. Guess I’ll have to spin harder next time. haha


In Search of a Waterfall Unseen

Bertha and I’d been hearing great reports of a waterfall in the Boise Foothills by many of our running friends. We were determined to see it for ourselves, so, armed with some rough instructions and a map, we ventured out this evening.

We felt fairly proud of ourselves for pulling out the trail map and orienting ourselves with our location and choosing the right direction at each junction. The scenery from Camel’s Back Park along the creeks and lush trails was a nice change from our usual routes. We couldn’t help but pull out the cameras and take lots of photos as we went. But, time got away from us….

After nearly 8 miles, the sun was going down. It was growing darker around us and we realized we didn’t even have our headlamps.  We were on rocky, single-track trials and you really need to see where you’re stepping to be safe. We cut cross-country right up the side of a brush-covered hill, scratching up our exposed legs as we huffed and puffed up the hill to get back to the main, long, dirt road that would eventually lead us back to the city and the park where our car was — but, in doing so, we had to cut short our route and missed the waterfall.  I was low on food and really bonking. Bertha was tired as well. And we were both feeling a little bit scared being so far away from anyone, out in the mountains.

Much of the stretch down 8th street (the long, winding, rutted, rocky dirt road) is downhill.  It’s also out in the boonies, so there are no street lights or houses for miles.  We started running and we picked up the pace. We could hardly see a thing, but we were flying – eager to get out of the eerie dark and back to safety.  About a mile down the road, I came around a curve and nearly bumped into a few guys replacing a flat tire on a car. I gave Bertha a panicky look and just focused on getting past them and out of there.  A few minutes later, a vehicle carrying a bunch of rowdy college boys blew by us and they wolf-whistled and howled as they went. I felt uncomfortable and irritated and wanted them to just go away and leave us alone as we continued to thwump thwump thwump in perfect scynronization down the dark, dirty road towards the city lights far in the distance.

We ran side-by-side.  A huge smile spread over my face as I realized that she hadn’t asked to slow down or stop and we’d been hammering at it for more than two miles. She was keeping up with me and it felt awesome to run so fast side-by-side with my best friend.  I cranked it up a little bit and she responded and together we just flew down that mountainside.  Our best mile tonight was mile 11 – after running for nearly 3 hours on trails. The pace? 7:52. It was FUN! And we still had 3 miles to go.

We made it back to the car in the dark parking lot and called our husbands to let them know that we were safe — even though it was so late. We were high-fiving and laughing about how fast we’d ran when we were afraid out there. It brought out something unique in us and we were both keenly aware of what a special experience we’d had.

We drove to a local Shari’s and I had pancakes, sausages, bacon and hashbrowns with strawberry cheesecake pie for dessert and hot cocoa with whipped cream and colored sprinkles.  Bertha had a sandwich, soup and some strawberry pie too. The cute little Asian waiter flirted with the old ladies, so we tipped him well.  It was a good time. Another one for the record books.

Gotta head out there and actually SEE that waterfall soon, though! Maybe Sunday!

Stats: 14.06 miles. 2310 ft elevation gain. 4:14:59 total time. 3:10:13 moving time. Ave pace: 18:08. Moving pace: 13:31. Ave HR: 132.  Felt: Fatigue, but happy and had a second wind!


Little Man’s Longest Run

Wayne Jr wanted to join me again for a little run today. I told him I was thinking of doing 5 or 6. He said, “Let’s do 6, Mama! I’ve never gone more than 4 before and I want to do better!”

He wanted to bring his own water bottle today, so I hooked him up with my extra fuel belt, which just drooped on his skinny little waist. It was comical and cute. He insisted it fit perfectly! I tied his jacket around his waist to try and prop it up a little bit and that worked for the most part.

We’d jog, then walk a bit as he caught his breath or struggled with a side stitch.  We stopped for coins (found two nickels!) and lost golf balls as we passed the golf course (he found three.)  He told me about his latest achievements on his favorite video game as we walked up Nemesis and he whooped and hollered as he ran down the other side. “Little Man’s Got Wheels!” I’d say and he’d shout back,, “Or wings, Mama! Maybe I have wings I’m going so fast!” And he was.

He was so proud of himself as we finished up the run. Then we headed into the house so he could share all of his treasures with his siblings who oohed and ahhhed at the brother who’d really just ran 6 miles with Mama.

Stats: 6 miles. Pace: 16:40. Time: 1:40. Average HR: 110. Elevation Gain: 110 ft. Felt: Happy


A Little Encouragement from Dr Seuss

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

— Dr. Seuss

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
— Dr. Seuss


Recovery Walk While Becca Sewed

My oldest daughter is taking sewing classes on Tuesday mornings right now.  She’s a a natural after only two lessons!  Last week she made a pillow case and used a sewing machine for the first time.  This week she made a zippered pouch. The teacher teased her today that she should have let her teach the class since she’s such a natural. That made my day to hear, since I’m the least crafty Mom in existence!  I’m relieved I didn’t  pass on my inability to do anything remotely like it to her. I’m so thankful that my children shine in their own unique ways and are each finding out their talents and creative outlets at a young age.

Once I got Becca settled in at her sewing machine with the other two gals in the class, I took off on a little walk around the neighborhood while she worked. This was a great chance to stretch the legs out after my 31 miler in the mountains on Sunday. It was sunny and clear out – a perfect day for a little stroll!  I’m feeling pretty good after my romp in the hills – just a little bit sore.

By the time I’d gotten in 4.5 miles, it was time to pick Becca up and head back home again. It was nice to get two things done at once today!

Stats: 4.5 miles. 15:38 pace. Ave HR: 96. Max HR: 129. Felt: Good!


My Own Solo 50k

I got lost last week on a trail run with my friends. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been lost on a run, just the first time I got lost when I didn’t have anyone with me.  The fact that I didn’t know how to navigate myself back to my pals bothered me all week. I told my husband that I needed to get out there on the exact same route and run the whole thing alone just to prove to myself that I could handle trail running and myself out there. 🙂  I’ve never done a single trail run solo.  Today was my first plunge into that experience and being me, I jumped in with both feet and made it a 50k!

It was foggy and cool when I started running at 6:11 this morning. I ran through the Boise foothills and enjoyed the wildflowers in all their glory. It was like a rainbow of yellow, purple, white and an occasional splash of pink! The birds were out in full chorus and they greeted me as I went along, finding my way on the trail. I did not bring my camera this time. I was on a mission to improve my overall pace in preparation for Big Horn 50 miler in four weeks.  Leaving the camera at home did help with that, although I did take a million mental snapshots!

Turns out, it wasn’t a fluke that I got left last week. I really do just suck at uphill!!! The Boise foothills are loaded with steep grades climbs and right from the get go, it’s up, up, up! I decided to focus on my heart rate and do what I could – as well as I could for the duration.  The strategy worked! Even though I walked/hiked nearly every single uphill I encountered, my strengths at the flat and downhill evened things out fine.  I ate well, used nature’s bathroom regularly (too regularly darn it. I wish sometimes that I had a bladder of steel instead of such a wimpy one that demands to be emptied nearly 3 times an hour! Ugh!)

I did have some odd encounters on my solo run.  Turns out the trail I was repeating is open to vehicles.  It was a creepy feeling when a truck with two young guys leering at me drove by slowly. We were miles from anyone. It kind of frightened me.  I also found two different tents set up out in the middle of nowhere.  One had 8 horses tied up outside. The other had a big Labrador dog.  In all cases, the people were likely not going to do me any harm, but it did make me rethink my original plan of running this loop of 15 miles twice.  I decided, instead to drive the 5 miles to the usual trial heads I like to visit with my friends and get 16+ miles done there.  So, that’s what I did!

I had such a nice second run, too! I’d have to say it was my favorite  of the two. I ran up every mountain I could find. I didn’t get lost and I loved the single track trail. I also encountered a zillion cyclists, runners and dog walkers, so didn’t worry one tiny bit about being afraid.  The higher I climbed, though, the less I saw anyone. It was pretty cool being wayyyyyy up above the city, sitting on a huge rock munching a salted potato at lunchtime, while looking out over the city spread out way far below.

I saw lots of wildlife today! I saw so many different birds – tiny blue ones, yellow ones, hawks, sparrows, quails – just all sorts of them! I had a blue-gray snake surprise me on the path today. He was flicking his tongue and I leaped over him. I saw the tiniest chipmunk baby! It couldn’t have been more than 3 inches tall, but it was a fast climber!

Though the first part of my run was really chilly, foggy and overcast, as the hours went by in my second run, it got bright and sunny and HOT! I ran out of water about 4 miles from the end. I had to slow my pace to a walk to make sure I’d be fine with waiting to get water and not overheat. I felt bubbly and strong right to the end. I made small talk with the people I passed on the path (always of course mentioning that I was on the tail end of a 31 mile run! haha!)

I listened to music for part of this run. That was a rare treat! It was SO MUCH FUN! When I reached the tops of the mountains, I spun in a circle like Maria in the Sound of Music! It looks a lot like that scene when you’re up high in the foothills — just green, green, mountains as far as the eye can see. I also stopped to dance for Y-M-C-A and Whole Lotta Shaking Going On.  I felt happy. I was having a ball. I felt like ME!

Just about 30 miles in, I passed some of the only shade I saw all day and a little bubbling stream. It was so lovely and inviting. I couldn’t help but sit right down, take off my shoes and socks and cool my feet. Ahhhhhhh. I also sneaked out the camera and took a few photos of my happy moment.

I really had a great time. I worked hard out there, accomplished what I set to do and finished with the feeling I could have gone on another 20 miles (which is good since Big Horn will require that!)  I will definitely have to schedule more “solo” runs in the future. Turns out, it’s pretty wonderful to just be alone, to be the boss of where to turn and what speed to go and how long to stare at the pretty flowers. 🙂

Stats: 31.3 miles. 8 hours 10 min 32 seconds. Ave pace: 15:40. Elevation Gain: 6,388 feet (GO ME!)  Average HR: 153 (This is my goal range for Big Horn. It was just the right amount of push without overdoing it so I could go on and on and on….).  Ave moving pace: 14:15. Moving time: 7:26:07.


Wii Fit Plus Yoga and Strength

30 min Wii Fit Plus. Mostly yoga poses with a few planks, side planks and v-sits in for good measure. I love how peaceful the female instructor and the background music make me feel. Ahhh…  The perfect gentle, easy workout after a long run yesterday.


To Melba and Back with Bertha

I’ve been running with Bertha for more than two years now. We have a nice rhythm, a good companionship and a comfortable understanding between us as we chat about life and run. Tonight I got a nice, big dose of “Bertha time.”  I really needed it.

We’d said for ages that we were going to run from her house to a nearby town called Melba and back again but had never gotten around to doing it.  Tonight was the night to finally get it crossed off our “Wish List.”  We started at about 6:30pm and didn’t end up back in her driveway until about 10:30pm.  The last hour we ran and walked in the dark under the stars just sharing our thoughts on life. It was tons of fun!

Stats: 15.33 miles. 16:01 ave pace (14:12 moving pace.) 4:05 – total time. (3:37:51 moving time.) Average Heart rate: 118 (I’m noticing it’s getting lower in the last week compared to when I started tracking it. Guess that means I’m getting fitter! Yay!) Max HR: 193. Best Pace: 7:46.  Elevation Gain: 576 ft (there were many rolling hills, but the Big Daddy of them all was about 300 of gain in a long slow uphill stretch.  Bertha and I saw it coming for miles before we reached the base. I ran every, single step of that hill and felt AWESOME! I threw my hands up in victory at the top! It felt great!!!