Today, I ran part of the route of an upcoming 50k. Though, I have ran many times in the Owyhee Mountains, I had not run this particular section of the course before. I think my race director friend was saving some surprises for me!!!!!!
It was very cold and windy today. It was mid 30’s with winds between 15-20 mph with gusts up to 60 mph that nearly blew us off the trail! It was intense! My buddy, Conner, said to me after a couple of hours, “Christie, can you feel your face? Mine is NUMB!” I said, “Mine, too, Conner. Mine, too!” hehe.
When we started the run, I was so happy to see my wonderful friend Les A. waiting for us in the parking lot! I have only had one other opportunity to run with Les in the past, so this was quite a treat! It was good to see that his knee was feeling better and he did a fantastic job on those tough climbs early on on the single track trail (my favorite part of the course and some of the most scenic!) When we hit an especially rocky patch, Les did lose his footing and fell (as 2 more of us would do before the run was over.) Les, relaxed, tucked and rolled and I complimented him on his style during the fall. He said, “I learned that from Ryan A. !” I thought that was awesome! 🙂
The highlight of the run was spotting the wild horses that run free out in the Owyhee Mountains of southern Idaho! They are strong and beautiful and free out there. We were lucky enough to spot part of the herd three different times during our route today! That’s a new record for me! I’ve never seen them more than once on a trail run before! Pretty amazing!
The trail was very, very, very, rocky, technical and super steep up and down! Usually that means I can at least fly on the downhills, but not this course! It was all I could do for much of the downhill not to trip on the loose sand, large rocks and steep grade to not fall on my face (which nearly happened around mile 12 when my right hand caught me just in time.)
One of the most lovely views tonight was of the red rock canyons as we summited the highest climb of today. It was breathtaking looking out over the rolling hills, the sagebrush, the valley below and those gorgeous, mysterious canyons in the distance.
For just a moment, when it was pitch black, I turned off my headlamp and stood out there in the wild, far away from any city lights and enjoyed the bold, bright half moon and the twinkling stars above. It was so lovely!
19.17 Miles. 4:32 total time. 14:12 ave pace. 6:41 best pace reached. 3,949 elevation gain today (it HURT!) It should be an exciting race in January with the snow, ice and mud! I’m sure I’ll have exciting tales to tell after surviving it!