Locusts, Lizards and Lack of Water

I woke up this morning without a plan but said to my husband, “I want to run from the house to Lucky Peak and back!” I’ve ran up to the peak and down again several times – but never from my front door (which is about 3 miles to the trail start, so I knew it would add roughly 6 miles to the total, which sounded great since the trip up and down the mountain is always a hair over 13.) I figured it would be a nice, long, slow distance run giving me strength on the steep hill climbs, a chance to run fast on the technical downhill sections and the cushion of dirt instead of asphalt getting me ready for my marathon in three weeks. It sounded like a plan!

I packed my Nathan vest with ice and about 50 oz of water (which might have been enough if I was heading out on an early morning run, but I wasn’t thinking as carefully as I should have and didn’t bring my handhelds as back up.) I also had plenty of S caps, some peanut butter crackers and a mint chocolate GU. And, off I went!

It was exciting heading out. I like to run with my pal, Randy sometimes and I had been curious exactly how far it was via trails and the greenbelt from my house to his. It turns out it’s almost 3 miles on the nose! So, the next time he invites me I need to leave the house half an hour early and run to his before the “run” starts. 😀 Then, run those 3 miles back after! BONUS MILES!!

It was 10 am before I started today, so I was also thinking it would be a great chance to get in some heat training (again – a doh moment – I should have been packing MORE water/electrolyte drink, etc!!!) It was hot. It was hazy from all the smoke in the sky. So hazy in fact, that you couldn’t see as far into the distance or up the mountain as usual, which made it kind of mysterious looking, but the air wasn’t as fresh as usual which wasn’t a good thing. Since it was fairly warm already when I started (about 80 degrees), I stayed conservative — steadily hiking the uphills and even warming up the first mile from my front door with an easy walk pace. I knew I had a long way to go and figured pacing would be the key to a successful and fun run instead of a miserable drudge.

So many locusts hopped out of the golden grasses and onto the dusty trail in front of my feet as I climbed up, up, up Lucky Peak. Five different small lizards – no bigger than three inches from head to tail each zipped across the trail on the climb as well. I considered these things wonderful distractions to my heavy breathing! I could feel myself sweating and it was so humid (which is unusual for Idaho) that it would evaporate off my skin within seconds! I kept drinking but felt the weight of the pack every little bit and realized that I was drinking more than I’d planned to, so I tried to be conservative with the water, which didn’t really help things much since my body was really needing it.

Around mile 8 into my run, I looked up and spotted local rock star Wayne Rancourt coming down the hill, wearing his pack and grinning! He stopped and said hi to me and he asked me if this was my “first time” up the hill today. Haha! Wayne is known for doing hill repeats on this crazy, horribly long hill (Lucky Peak) that has over 3,000 of climb in 6 miles up. It works well for him! He came in 2nd place last week at Wild Idaho 50 miler! I told him that I was just doing “one” hill repeat. Man, that made me feel like a weenie next to him!!!! He said he’s see me again when he was heading back up.


By the time I reached the summit and enjoyed what I could see through the smoke of the view of Boise, I knew water was an issue. Randy had told me about a path down the front of the hill that I’d never tried that was a shortcut. I decided this was a good day for that, so I sought it out, found it and really enjoyed the little deer trail down the front that shaved about a mile off of my descent! It also made me feel like a cheater pants since I never go that way – haha!

I ran about a mile, then sipped on my Nathan tube for a drink and ended up getting a big gulf of air instead and started choking and coughing! I was thinking “Great! I need a drink of water to help with the choking but apparently I’m all out and I still have 8 miles to GO!!” ARGH!!

I realized I was in trouble a bit. I was already having headaches and feeling thirsty and figured without water in the heat of the day (which had a high of 100 today) I would not do my body any good by pushing through this, so I grabbed my cell phone out of my pack and texted my husband.

Then, I took off running again. I was running fairly fast downhill through this section when I spotted a bit of blue up ahead – it was Wayne on his way up and when he saw me he started clapping, which only made me run faster and start to grin! (It’s always more fun to have an audience!) He wished me good luck on my “flight” down the mountain, and I wished him well on his climb up. No sooner had we passed one another, when all of a sudden I stepped poorly on my right foot and instantly realized I’d rolled it — not horribly — but still – it was hurting and it was sore! UGH! That’s what I get for showing off! I pulled off of the trail again and dug out my cell phone, almost in tears and looked to see if Wayne had written me back. He hadn’t. I called him. He didn’t pick up. I felt a little freaked out thinking I would have to make it back to the house possibly without any more water and now with the ankle hurting my pace would slow down so I’d be out for HOURS more in the heat! Normally, I would stop and ask for water at my buddy, Randy‘s house, but I knew he was on vacation, so that wouldn’t be a possibility. I tried calling Wayne two more times without success and then just settled in a slow, steady downhill pace trying to get closer to the bottom of the hill (and closer to home!)

Finally, my phone rang! It was Wayne!!! I told him I was out of water and had rolled my ankle and needed him to come meet me on Warm Springs in about 20 minutes with some water. He said he would. I was so relieved!!! Once I knew he was on the way, I picked up the pace, knowing I would only have a couple more miles to run without water before I could stop and DRINK!

When I was about 3/4 of a mile from Warm Springs, I was back in Randy‘s neighborhood, running on a path that has a little bubbling brook right next to the trail. I hobbled right over to it, fell down on my knees and started scooping the cold, delightful water all over my face, arms and legs. It was so refreshing in that heat! I also ran through every sprinkler I saw near the path! My shoes were making a squish, squish sound, my shorts and tank were wet and my face was dripping wet from the washing when Wayne found me on the path. He was holding a water bottle filled with ice water, which I would gladly have paid a king’s ransom for at that point! I barely had time to thank him before I started gulping the cool, refreshing water down my dry, parched through! Ahhhhhhhhh – better!!!!!

I was bummed when I hopped into the car to realize my potential 20 miler had turned into a dehydrated 15 miler – but it is, what it is! At least it was just a training run!

Elevation Gain: 3,300 Felt: Pretty good until I ran out of water, then not so much!

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