Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mesa Falls Marathon

What could be better than running a marathon through the Targhee National Forest, by Lower Mesa Falls, on a great trail adjacent to a river, and through rolling farm lands?  Turning it in to a girl's trip!!

Michele and I had trained for the Full Marathon and Kris for the Half.  We headed out of town on Friday morning.  I am sure that all of our husband's were concerned about the three of US on a road trip!  But we were READY!!

Michele drove and we made great time!  It was terribly windy though.  Sometimes the car would swerve violently on the road when a gust hit it.  "How was the marathon Jodi?  I don't know, we DIED before we got there!"  It was blowing the car all over the place!
I was playing with my phone calendar as we headed through Twin Falls.  Michele and I were planning when our trail runs would be now that school had started.  We decided they would be every Tuesday.  So, I start planning one for the Tuesday that we get back from the marathon.  Luckily Michele reminded me that we are supposed to take days off after the race.  Oh yeah, that's right!

We only had a few bathroom breaks despite the fact that Kris' husband said we'd have at least ten!  At our first rest stop we sent a picture to him and said "Bathroom break number 5!"  We thought we were so funny!  But then he texted back a zinger, "That's good, 3 less than I would have guessed!"

Kris and I found Ashton, Idaho on the map!  WooHoo!  How excited are we?

We stopped for lunch at Subway for a carb load in Idaho Falls.  Michele and Kris got wheat bread which has 10 grams of FIBER!! I warned them!  Don't have extra fiber before a race!  Needless to say I got regular ole white bread.  

While Kris was personalizing her sandwich she was accentuating the "S" on all of the food titles,  "I'll have lettusssssss.  And cucumbersssssssss. And onionssssssssssssssss."  Finally the Subway worker said, "Are you hissing at me?"  Kris looked at him and in her scolding tone replied, "Oh you'd KNOW if I was hissing at you!"

So we hit the road again.  Now, I had no idea exactly where we were headed.  I left that all up to Michele.  SO when we passed the sign to turn right to go to West Yellowstone, and Michele DIDN'T turn, I didn't say anything.  I thought she knew exactly where she was headed.  Apparently Kris had the same thought process.  She too saw the sign, watched Michele pass it and NOT turn, and thought to herself that Michele must know a different way to go.  About 10 miles later Michele said, "This doesn't look right.  We should have passed bear world by now. Did you guys see the turn to West Yellowstone?"  Oops.  We had.  So I turned on my phone and used the maps.  Turned out we were headed north instead of east and were way off!  We had to turn around then head through some tiny towns on an old highway.  The detour added an hour to our travel time.  Michele was telling us we failed as co-pilots.  Then she called her husband and "tattled" on us!  Too fun!

We DID make it to Ashton despite my and Kris' ability to aide in the navigating.  We checked in to our hotel.  The debate on who was going to share a bed had to be settled.  Michele announced that she was a cuddler, Kris and I yelled at the same time, "You get a bed alone!"  Then we figured we'd get a cot and I would sleep on the cot since I was the youngest. It turned out the cot was $10.  We are all cheap so we opted out and agreed I would sleep with Michele.  "But," I warned her, "I kick. And if you touch me, I will give you a black eye!"

As we unpacked Michele got out a can of Axe Body Spray.  She said her husband had sent it with her for the bathroom.  He said when you share a room with three guys you need it.  Well, we are not guys and didn't really need it.  But we laughed and placed it ceremoniously in it's place.

Then headed over to the Elementary school to pick up our race packets.

The race packet was in a potato sack and had our shirts in them too.  They were nice ones, my only complaint was that the year wasn't printed on them.  Kris said hers looked too small and she was going to have to lose 5 pounds to fit into it! 

The school also hosted a spaghetti feed.  There was really no where else in town to eat so it was nice that they offered this.  The girl serving the spaghetti flopped about 5 pounds on my plate and then asked, "Is that enough?"  Holy cow!  Is that enough?  I wouldn't be able to move if I ate all of that!!  But we all smiled and said, "Yes, thank you."  Side bar, none of us did eat it all.

Bed time was to be at 9:00 PM.  We were all getting tired anyway by 7:30.  So we prepped for bed and laid down and watched the Bering Sea Gold Diggers on the Discovery Channel.  Dumb, but intriguing at the same time.  We hit the lights and were falling asleep when suddenly....

"When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, that's AMORE!"

It was so loud it jolted us all awake.  It was Kris' ring tone for her husband, who had called at 9:30!  Despite being told not to call after 8:30!  After she talked to him, Michele and I couldn't fall asleep because that song kept running through our heads!

Just when I was deep into sleep I heard noises and felt movement.  Michele was up messing with the blankets and covers.  "What are you doing?"  I asked.  She replied, "I am freezing!"  When I suggested tat she turn off the A/C she answered, "No because then Kris will kill me!"  As it turns out, Kris was cold too.  But we didn't find that out til the next day!

We had to get up at 4:00 AM to get ready for the marathon.  Kris was nice enough to drive us to the school to get on the bus.  This was extra nice since her bus didn't leave until 7:30 AM. 

The bus was so HOT!  I was getting nauseous.  As we drove I kept asking Michele if we'd be in the forest or not.  She had promised me that this run was in the forest.  She denied ever having said this, but I KNOW she did.  After a 40 minute ride, we stopped.  Happily for me there were trees and it was foresty.  We were at the startt line, Or were we?

First of all we all needed to use the bathroom really badly.  But we couldn't find the Porta Johns!  We also couldn't find the start line.  We asked one of the bus drivers and he pointed us in the direction.  Michele says you should never trust an overweight, smoking bus driver.  Turns out she was right.  He pointed us in the OPPOSITE way! No one knew where to go.  Finally about 7 of us just hit the trees to go to the bathroom.  What a relief.

When we FINALLY found the starting line, Michele told the race director that the bus driver was pointing everyone in the opposite way.  He replied, "OH NO!" and took off running.  Eventually everyone got rounded up and we were ready to start.  There were a few Porta Johns so Michele and I decided to go "one more time".  Better safe than sorry when you are about to run a marathon!  I then experienced something in a Porta John that was a first for me.  The smell inside was so terrible that I started to dry heave!  I was so close to throwing up. I knew I couldn't or it would ruin my race.  It was terrible! 

Luckily I held it all in and lined up for the start.  The race was 15 minutes late (thanks to the bus driver).  Michele and I had thought about a remote possibility of catching up to Kris on her half-marathon. But with a late start, no way now.

Interestingly in our race was a man who is going blind and running marathons blindfolded to raise money.  His name is E.J. Scott.  (Click on his name to read about him).  It was pretty cool to see him at the start line with is guide.

Did I mention that the start was COLD?  It was freezing!  We took off running and Michele said, "Why didn't we wear gloves?"  It was around  32 degrees.  Our fingers were so cold that I couldn't move them.  My head itched and I couldn't even wiggle my fingers in order to scratch it!  Then my arms started to tingle.  I kept asking Michele if her arms were numb and I 'd hit them to check.  We really did have a fun time! We were running with a type of "Jazz Hands".  Constantly opening and closing our fingers in order to keep the blood flowing in them.  After about half a mile I asked, "Can you get frostbite in 5 minutes?"  (I googled it later turns out you can!) I looked around at a few other runners and saw that they were running with clenched fists.  I tried it, much better!  So I told Michele and we both changed our strategy.  I think it wasn't until mile 5 that we started to feel our fingers and arms again. 
We met some nice people and really enjoyed the friendliness and scenery of this race.  One girl who came up from behind us commented that we had "amazing calves" and she was going to keep up with running if it meant she could get calves like us.  We have to take her word for it because well, in all honestly, we can't see ourselves run from behind. 

Running through the forest was nice.  The road was light gravel and easy on the feet.  At mile 9 we both commented that we felt as if we needed to go to the bathroom, AGAIN.  We held back from drinking.  At mile 10, we were sure of it.  At mile 11 we darted for the trees! We didn't care who might see us.  As we were in the trees I yelled, "I can't believe how much I have to go!"  This was taking forever!! This run was great! :0)

Another point in the race I started to hear this "clicking" noise.  It was very annoying.  Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and I asked Michele, "Are you making that noise? What is it?"  She not only wasn't making it, she couldn't even hear it.  Another runner running by us said that it was a time bomb.  "Our sports beans are actually bombs and they are gonna blow during the race."  Then she ran off.  That was weird.  Runners are by nature eavesdroppers.  They listen to what ever you are talking about, offer their two cents, then run on.

We got to see some beautiful scenery, the best of which was the lower Mesa Falls.

Michele didn't think I looked at it long enough, but I did see it!  Kris was mad at me for not taking a picture!  Those ladies!  I easily got one off the Internet!

When we got to the spot where the half marathon started, we found out that their race had started on time.  All plans to try and catch Kris were now gone.  I had to later confess that I had slowly hatched a plan to leave Michele at mile 13 and really push it to catch Kris.  We headed on to an old railroad track trail and I was still considering the possibility of really pushing the tempo when "Whoops!"  I stepped funny on a rock and rolled my ankle!  (This is the same ankle I rolled funny on our night run a few days ago.)  It hurt so bad!  I limp ran a few steps and gritted my teeth and kept going.  While I loved the scenery and the trail and the terrain, running on dirt and rocks was now killing my ankle.  The uneven surface was torture!  Every step sent sharp pains up my leg.   This then cemented the fact that I would NOT be attempting to catch Kris.  It was probably an unwise thing to try anyway.  Michele did remind me that I sometimes do run stupid when I am alone.  She is wiser after all.

So Michele and I plugged along.  Running along the river was so pretty.  We did find ourselves completely alone though.  No runners ahead of us, no runners behind us.  For a brief moment we wondered if we went the wrong way.  But to our relief at a long stretch we could see our new friend "Kim" a ways behind us.

After three miles of the trail we came out o the road.  Michele HATES running on roads.  However, the even surface was a welcome relief to my ankle.  We kept plugging away, me wincing with every step.  Michele said I was doing a very weird "limp-run".  But it was working.  The course was now rolling hills.  Some of the rolled up a lot, so we walked.  The people who lived along the course were amazing.  They were running the water and aide stations, they had sprinklers aimed at the road for us to run through and they were very friendly and encouraging.  It was actually (despite my pain) a  lot of fun.

As we neared the end of the race, I was in enough pain that I was struggling not to cry.  A man joined us and started matching our pace.  He was annoying Michele because he talked so much.  I just let them talk and concentrated on finishing.  We got to the point that I could only run a quarter mile and then I'd have to walk a bit.  Michele was incredible, like an elite motivational coach.  She talked me through it, called out distances, encouraged me and let me set the pace.  I am glad we were together.

When there was only about a .3 miles left of the race I just wanted to be done.  So I said, "Let's do this."  We picked up the pace and started to run it in.  No more stopping.  As we turned and could see the finish line I sped up.  "Slow Down!" Michele yelled  "No you speed up!" I retorted.  Then she called to me, "You slow down and I'll speed up."  We ran down the chute with our hands together and held up high!  Since we had dressed and look alike the announcer said in the microphone, "And we have Twins finishing."  Haha, leave it to Kris to yell at him, "They are SISTERS!"  She is great!

Now that I can sit back and look at the race and experience, I thought about something Michele has said before and now realize what she meant. "There is something about doing the race for fun and enjoyment that is so much greater than racing it."  Older and wiser.

Now we can't forget about Kris' run.  Her Half-Marathon started at 8:00 AM.

 She told us a bit about it.  First she made a friend on the bus, but doesn't remember their name.  Throughout the race she paced with an older lady who seemed to be the same age.  See despite what Kris may say she is COMPETITIVE TOO!  She didn't want to lose this lady and have her beat her out of an award.  She kept looking for a lady in green (meaning me).  Kris knows me so well that she had guessed my secret plan to try and catch her.  What she did not know was that our race had started late and I wasn't actually running, I was limp-running like a wounded deer!

At one point in the raod Kris got stuck behind a combine!  She couldn't get around him until he moved.  Not something that happens to runners very often I would wager.

We are so proud of Kris because as it turns out, she got third place in her age group!

And the lady she was pacing was from Brazil, same age group after all BUT she was a marathoner and she got third in her age group too!  Amazing!

We all had a great time!  Michele declared that we now must have an annual girls trip road race every year!  And yes, it is already planned!

Kris mentioned that she couldn't BELIEVE Michele held hands with me across the finish line.  She had tried to get Michele to do that at a marathon and Michele wouldn't because that would make them look "weird" like more than friends "weird" if you catch my drift.  We all just laughed and Michele shook her head.  "I am older and wiser now" she answered.

The road trip home was uneventful.  We didn't get lost, we had burgers at Wendy's and we laughed and enjoyed the drive!
OH!  And one last thing!  That weird clicking noise during our race that was bugging me?  Turned out it was my race bib hitting my hydration belt.  Haha! Funny!

There are a lot of other things that happened that other people will never understand.  They will forever only be funny to us:
1)  Kris lives in the house "you know across the street" from Michele
2)  Can't stand up from the toilet
3)  What to do if you are too warm in the Hotel - skivies by the window
4)  If you don't want to work you can just "roll" off the boat
5) Coming out of the gas station barking because I stayed in the car

But to keep the blog short (too late) I will end it here.  If you'd like to read about the race, click here:
Ashton News: Mesa Falls Marathon

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Annual NIGHT Run!

Yes this is correct.  The clock in Kris's car read 4:32 AM!  And yes, we are in the car headed to the Boise Foothills.  Why?  You may ask?  Are we stupid?  Are we crazy?  Do we need our heads examined?  Do we think up outrageously weird things and ideas? 

The simple answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES!  We ARE all of these things and we LOVE IT!!

So I cannot remember when the idea started or who first brought it up, but needless to say the idea was hatched a week or so ago.  On our Horseshoe Bend run it was finalized and we were ALL IN!  Since I live further away I left my house at 4:00 AM in order to make it for the pre-determined 4:30 AM departure.  This is Tuesday.  Just plain old Tuesday.  Not the Tuesday that is after Monday or the Tuesday going in to Wednesday.  Just Tuesday. (see previous post).

It was also decided to run early in the AM instead of late at night because creepers stay up late but they do not wake up early in the morning.

We decided to run a trail that we had ran before so we would not get lost or hurt in the dark.  I became worried as we drove there because we were driving on a road that we have driven before and KRIS GOT LOST!  Well, not technically LOST.  She knew where she was, just that it wasn't where we were supposed to go!  How were we going to survive a night RUN if we had already failed on the night DRIVE to get there?!

We were new to this whole night running thing.  So we wanted to be sure we could see where we were going first off.  The secondly we wanted to make sure everything could see us as well.  First, everyone strapped on their pepper spray.  We all wore headlamps, though it was unanimous that Michele's was the best.  Then I brought some glow sticks.  Michele and I each wore glow stick bracelets, I made a necklace and clipped a bunch into my ponytail so they could see me from behind.  Kris, wow she was a glow!  Blinking LED bracelets, a blinking LED bling ring, arm band, headlamp, flashlight. We told her that she didn't need the reflective vest.

Oh "Kris"mas tree!

Kris is ready to run!
My necklaces

Michele's Bracelets

Michele made a "genius" comment as we were getting all decked out in our "glow"!  She wanted to know if the glow sticks would mess up her Garmin Satellite reception. Really?  Oh my.  I don't believe either of us really answered that one!

Michele making sure her Garmin still works!

Finally after a lot of adjusting and laughing, and figuring out how to turn on headlamps, we were set to go!

To start with, not only was it dark, but it was dusty and smoky.  That made it even darker!  Even with the headlamps it was still difficult to see.  You had to really focus on the path.  We parked at the upper parking lot from camel's back on 8th street before the Interpretative Center.  From there we ran on Owls' Roost # 37.  Running a trail in the dark is a completely new experience.  It seemed as if we were on a trail that we had never ran before.  Everything seems different when you can only see a few feet in front of you!

From Owl's Roost we passed the Foothills learning Center and then went up Kestral #39A all the way up to Crestline #28.  A really difficult part of running in the dark is that you do not realized when you are coming to a hill or even when you are on a hill until you legs start to tell you.  We were trying to communicate as best we could to make it easy.  Whoever was running in front would call things out, "rock!"  "mogul!"  "Hole!"  Sometimes it didn't help though.  Kris was leading, called out "Hole!"  I watched her stumbled on it, watched Michele hit it, then I just crashed through it and rolled my ankle!  As I felt that stinger run up my leg I recalled what my husband had said to me last night. "You guys are so stupid.  You have a marathon in a few days and you are going to go trail running in the dark.  One of you is gonna twist an ankle."  ding-ding!  He was right!

The view of the city was pretty but it was diminished by the haze and smoke.  This is the best picture that we could get.

Are run was VERY slow going.  Sometimes we just had to walk because either A. it was to dangerous to run a section blindly o B. we j=were just laughing too hard!

At mile 3 I noticed that when my head was way down it was easier to see the trail.  Hmm....I wonder.  I started fidgeting with my headlamp and realized that it was adjustable!  Oh man the difference was amazing!  It only took me a little over a half hour to figure THAT out!  Kris found it so funny that she lost the ability to speak and even walk.  At this point I almost dd wet my running capris from laughing so hard!

We stayed on Crestline a bit and then headed back down Red Cliffs Trail #39.  Kris reminded me that this was the trail on which she saved my life on our last very long trail run.  Yes, it is true. She did!  I was dehydrated with no more water.  Hooray for Kris' Gatorade!

I ran by Kris for a while and Michele led again.  She was wearing blinking bracelets and a blinking ring! Suddenly I yelled, "I can't run by you, It's going to give me seizures!"  this caused another interruption in the running by uncontrollable laughter.   I do think we laughed more than we ran today.

We hit the road, 8th Street Extension, to run back to the car.  Now we had an even-ish surface and could run side by side instead of single file.  That made it a lot easier.  I thought it would be an uneventful run with no animal encounters until.................

So what happened was simple really.  Kris kicked a rock.  The rock hit Michele's foot and ricocheted back in front of Kris's path.  This is when Kris screamed because she thought it was a.....................

MOUSE!  That's right.  Our fearless running partner just about lost it when she thought there was a mouse on the trail.

I am embarrassed to say that it took us 56 minutes to run 4 miles.  But then I realize, this was one of our funnest runs ever.  It's not about the mileage, the pace, the rime, or even the trail we take.  It is about the company, the memory, and the laughter.  And in that case....this run was a PR!

Friday, August 17, 2012

One Hill of a run!

Well, our next marathon is a week away!  Today we ran 9.75 (it is a taper week after all!).  We decided to run part of the upcoming Race2theSummit half marathon that we will run in September.  I know it is not technically a trail run but...close enough!

We me at the Home Depot at 6:20 AM.  Then Kris drove us in to Horseshoe bend.  As we were driving Michele saw an animal crossing the road and yelled pointing, "What is that?"  "Um, it's a DOG."  Michele thinks Horseshoe Bend may be a little bit more isolated than it really is.

Since there are NO porta pottys around, we had to use the local Chevron.  Must cleaner and smells a lot nicer too!  Michele and Kris decided to GU before we started the run.  Kris has a new type of GU.  It's called "Ewwwwwwww!" And it involves her finger and her nose!

Ha ha just kidding.  They had some berry, chocolate, minty, vanilla GU or something.  I tried it once, made me gag and nearly vomit.

We didn't know what to expect on this run.  We parked just off of Old Highway 55 and ran all the way to the top where the road meets with the new Highway 55.  It turned out to be almost 5 miles.  The climb was steady, but not terrible.  I must say we really did enjoy ourselves, as we ALWAYS do when we run together.

It was chilly when we started.  Michele thought it would be warmer because of all the fires.  What?  We really harassed her about that one.  If you run where there was a wildfire 5 weeks ago, it is not going to be warmer!!  I guess that's what we get for making her leave her house at 6:00 AM. 

We saw some REAL wildlife (other than the previous mentioned dog).  There were 7 deer that loped by.  What was cool was about 45 minutes later we saw the deer again.   I only got a grainy picture of one of the deer.

There was A LOT of cow manure in one section.  Every time we saw it we would yell POOP! For Kris' benefit.  Kicking dry horse poop is funny.  Kicking wet cow manure, not funny.  We were being extra helpful.  As it turned out some fencing was broken and there were calves everywhere.  One of them ran just ahead of us along the side of the road for awhile until it finally got the nerve to bolt across the road in front of us.  I did not capture this on camera because #1 I was in a good running groove and didn't want to stop and #2 everyone has seen cows. 

One fun thing to see on the run was Bread Loaf Rock.  It actually looks  just like a loaf of bread!  I searched the web trying to find out how it got to be that way and had NO LUCK.  So if anyone knows, please let us know!!

As we ran through the portion that had been burnt by the wildfire a little over a month ago Kris announced, "Whew, it's getting warmer up here!"  Haha Michele.  When you run with us, we never forget it when you make a dumb comment.  Kris is still reminding me of one I made 6 months ago!

We felt good running.  Kris is a tad slower on the uphill.  But today we learned that she really isn't.  "I could run ahead of you both!"  she announced from behind us. "But, I choose not too!  I run back here to protect you both!"  Hmm...not exactly sure how that works. 

Running this hill today was great.  I seemed to get skinnier with every step.  I had to re-adjust my hydration belt several times.  My running partners would say otherwise, but I think it's the weight loss!

We reached the top Spring Valley Summit.  It was a very pleasant and do-able climb!  We all are now even more excited for the race!  I decided to take some pictures.  Kris announced that she was going to be in everyone of the photos!  She wasn't kidding!

The run down was very nice.  An easy downhill.  We saw a couple of hawks, but not the deer again.  So we started to plan out our next run.  We want to do a night time trail run.  We plan on running with head lamps.  Sounds fun right?  No sounds crazy!  So we were basically deciding on what time to leave.  Kris wanted to run after 10:00 PM.  But I felt that there would be creepers out.  I reasoned that creepers stay out late, they don't get up early.  So, Kris was immediately out-voted.  Michele of course chooses 6:00 AM.  Why go on a run with head lamps if it is already getting light out?  So after a lot of negotiating and pressuring her, we finally convinced her that we would leave her house at 4:30 AM. Tuesday morning at 4:30 AM.  Silence for a minute, then Kris says, "  Now is that the Tuesday from Monday, or the the Tuesday going to Wednesday?"  The laughter from Michele and I that ensued at that point was so intense we could neither breathe or run.  We were so taken back by her obscure and nonsense question that neither of us could respond right away.  I finally said, "It's just Tuesday!  Tuesday morning at 4:30 AM."  What is even funnier is that it took her a few times of us saying that before she understood!  Then when she did she tried to shove me down on the road and Michele into a bush because we couldn't stop laughing.  I will be sure to remind Kris of this comment on EVERY RUN for the next 5 MONTHS, at least!

There was an awfully lot of silliness from Michele and Kris today.  I seemed to be the only one who could keep my wits about me.  Michele thought the red smeared stuff all over the road was the remnants of an animal slaughter. I realized it was fire retardant from the previously discussed fires.  When she pointed it out to Kris on the way down she called it RETARD....ent.  Then they giggled and laughed.  Then the pointed out that it had missed the fire completely.  Their behavior started to get me wondering... what is the expiration date on those GU's?