Nighttime Mountain Run with my Crazy Friends

I had so much fun tonight with Randy the climbing machine, Rachel (who also impressed me with her super powers not only on the uphills but also the downhills) and my buddy, Otto and his dog, Molly, who showed up late and STILL managed to run up and catch up!! Impressive!!! He claimed that he could hear my loud voice from way down below and kept running knowing he would catch us. Me loud?!!! Hmm…he must have mistaken me for someone else. I’m so quiet and shy! 😉 Anyways, it was awesome to have the gang out for a fun run as the sun was setting.

I am out of shape! There! I said it!!!! I was dying on the uphills — my heart rate was constantly at about 180 or above and I felt like I was going to freak out the others with my heavy breathing (which had nothing to do with the fun kind of heavy breathing! This was the “oh-my-word-my lungs are going to explode I’m so unfit” kind instead!!!!! Sheesh! It’s been like 6 weeks since my 50 mile race (when I thought I was in pretty awesome shape) and POOF! Injuries happened and now I’m way at the bottom of the food chain again. DANG IT!

Thankfully, I hang out with some incredibly gracious and kind runner pals who took turns hanging at the back with me. I enjoyed catching up with everyone! Randy revealed some of his secret tactics that he’ll use on Ryan A. in a couple weeks when he paces him at the Bear 100 (Ryan’s first 100 mile race!!!!!) We chatted about how awesome our friend Andrea S. did at her first ultra marathon this past weekend with Randy as her pacer! (Way to go, Andrea! I’m SO proud of you! I knew you could do it!) and in general, I just had a lovely chance to catch up with some of my friends I’d been missing.

Rachel and I held back and turned towards Boise as the sun finally set and the city lights started to twinkle and glow. It was beautiful! The crickets were singing their late evening song as we finally hit the tree line. We all put on our head lamps, I patted Molly and we headed back down the mountain. Normally this is where the fun part happens for me since I love downhills — but I’m just not “me” yet. 🙁Otto and Rachel took off like rockets and it was fun to see their little lights zipping down the single track. They were like a couple of race horses and it was fun to watch from the back! Randy is kind and stayed back with me while I babied the IT band and the still-healing PF and sprained ankle. I also noticed I’d seem to lose my nerve a bit, which was a bummer. In the past, I’ve felt downright fearless and reckless on the downhills — overly confident I won’t misstep or fall or sprain an ankle. I just relax and flow. That “me” isn’t here right now. I seem afraid of falling. Afraid of getting hurt again after so much time off. I’ve lost a bit of my nerve. I’ll get it back! I know I will, but I’ll have to rebuild -not just my broken bits and pieces – but also my courage.

Randy and I had fun chatting the last half an hour. It turned out the more I talked with him, the more my stride did finally loosen up and I was able to finally find my pace for a bit and feel relaxed, free — good — on the trails again. Only problem – the run was over then! haha! That’s the problem with being a long distance runner! 6 ish miles feels like a nice warmup! 😀

Rachel had brought ice cold beers and she and Randy kicked back and relished a well-earned cold one. I’d brought a little cooler with a cold Coke and I enjoyed my drink of choice too! Otto, being a non-conformist as always, drank some odd mixture from his water bottle (high octane Gatorade? Kool-aid? Water from the Fountain of Youth? Who can say for sure?!) We took a couple of pictures, enjoyed the stars and some chatter then headed out.

Now, the place we ran tonight was wayyyy up a windy, narrow, rutted, rocky dirt road. It’s steep. There are lots of sudden turns and twists! So, when Otto led the pack down the mountain I was surprised at how fast he was driving (the speed limit is 20 mph and even that feels fast on this crazy road.) I don’t have a dashboard light in my $350 Escort, so I have no clue what speed we were actually going, but I made a game out of chasing Otto‘s car down the road as Rachel and Randy in their cars chased me. I felt like a race car driver and my sunglasses slid from one side of the dash to the other!!! I felt like one of the Dukes of Hazzard (Daisy of course – though I always had a thing for Bo!!!) Yeeeeeee hawwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!! It was fun driving crazy down the mountain! I know my husband and my mother would not have approved (but they were NOT there to tell me not to do it!!) 😀

I listened to the radio as I drove home, my arm hanging out the window enjoying the cool night air and watching as the moon finally rose — a FULL moon in a velvety black sky with a zillion stars!!!! Ohhh what a night! I couldn’t stop smiling! Running + friends + moonlight = One happy Girl! 🙂

6.79 miles. 2:00 time. 17:40 pace. 2,054 feet of elevation gain. Min elevation: 3,813 ft. Max Elevation: 5,870 feet. Ave HR: 169. Max HR: 188.

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