Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Neanderthal Asylum!

Wow.  Today's trail run?  I am almost at a loss for words....notice I did say ALMOST.

Michele and I sat in her backyard last week while the kids were swimming with my ridge to rivers map, deciding what our next trail run should be.  We wanted to get a 14 miler in, to stay on track for our marathon training.  We were very excited when we mapped out a course that looked to be between 14-15 miles.  Michele wrote it all down on a tiny slip of paper for our hydration pack and we congratulated ourselves on such a great idea!

That was a week ago.  It is amazing how utterly and completely wrong we were!

We begin at the parking lot at the trail head for 5 Mile Gulch.  WooHoo here we go, so pumped up for our run.  "What do you think it's gonna be for time?"  "Probably 2 and a half hours." Oh boy, were we off!  We have ran part of 5 Mile Gulch before.  It is steep but not unbearable.  However, when we came to the turn to take Watchman and didn't, we regretted it!  I am still regretting it.

Our course for today began with running the entire length of 5-Mile Gulch, trail #2.  The 2 must stand for how many minutes you are on it before you realize you should GET OFF OF IT!  This trail was so steep!  A couple miles in our calves and achilles were on fire!  We had to stop and biofreeze them right away!  The elevation climb turned out to be 2092 feet.  This was achieved in just over 3 miles!  That is over a 620 foot gain every mile.  There were many moments when we both thought that this was a bad idea but neither of us voiced it.

Our Garmin watches are set to "auto-pause" when we are stopped.  There is a beep noise when this occurs. As we desperately climbed up this trail our watches keep auto-pausing becasue of the slowness of our progress.  We finally decided to de-activate that feature.  It was like being "gonged" or "buzzed" off from a talent show contest.  You are so bad "Bong" you lose! Michele said she felt she was on America's Got Talent and was getting "X-ed" because we were going so slow.

The incline was so steep that we had to walked hunched over like a neanderthal with our knuckles scraping the ground (hence the title of this blog).  I later demonstrated this pose to Michele.
This is how it felt like we were walking!!

Finally we reached the end of 5-Mile Gulch and Ta-Da! we were in the forest!  It was very pretty but quite a challenge to get there!  The trail came out to a fairly open area.  We took a break and took a breath.  We had climbed in 3 miles almost 3,000 feet in elevation.  It had taken us almost and HOUR!  
H-E-L-L-O.....who's idea was this anyway?

From here we headed left onto Trail "D", which is Boise Ridge Road.  This is considered a primitive road and wasn't too terrible to run on.  It was actually a nice break from what we had just done....UNTIL!

We were next to step off from "D" and head left onto Trail 4A (I don't think it has a name).  This was brief and came right out to Trail #4, 8th Street Motorcycle Trail or Hulls Ridge. This was a BAD IDEA!  This trail was rocky, sandy, crooked, rutted, full of moguls. just terrible!  Here we had the opportunity to run downhill...but becasue of the road surface we were forced to WALK!  Walking down hill is awful! I almost bit it several tmes.  This was definitely turning into an adventure tat we did not bargain for!

This is an example of the hills that we had to "walk" down!
There was no way we could run down this one!

We climbed quite high.  That is Boise way out there!

This is getting crazy!

 One thing about this down hill that made it so weird to run is that it was also covered in MOGULS!  Just like on an Olympic ski hill.  You felt like you were on some weird roller coaster running up down up down up down.  I kept making "woooo-woooo" noises as I went up and down them.  This only made Michele start laughing, then she couldn't breathe, then she couldn't run.  We were not even half way in to this run and we were physically exhausted!  When that kicks in you get the sillys and giggles and puppet legs and its hard to focus. 

Finally after what seemed like DECADES we came to Trail #5?  What?  That wasn't on our planned route!  There was no other direction to go though.  So, we headed left on trail #5 Freestone Ridge, hoping that this would get us to where we wanted....and it did!  (turns out we had read the map wrong when we planned out this jewel of a run).  It was great to be back on trails and off of Motorcycle trails.  I do believe that Michelle said at least 4 times, "new rule...we do NOT run on motor cycle trails!"  Yes, it was that bad.  I will say this about trail #4, we've ran it so you don't have to.  Please heed our advice and DO NOT DO IT!

Well, happily we came to our intended trail #42 Fat Tire.  We have ran this trail before and LOVE it! About half way there is a really big flat rock with a huge heart made out of smaller rocks.  This is there because this trail LOVES RUNNERS!  It has a great surface, easy up hills, etc.  Nothing like the garbage we had been running on!

After Fat Tire we came to our next turn.  Onto #6 Femrite Patrol (or Curlew Connector).  We could go either left or right.  Michele said we were always going left, so left it is!  Michele has a neighbor who is a big time biker and owns a bike shop.  He said that Femrite was a killer!  Did we heed his advice? No, we scoffed it off.  One of our many dumb things we did leading to and on this trail!  So off we go.

Well, he was right, Femrite is a killer!  Very tough up hill, rugged terrain and not ankle friendly.  As we approached to trail head, exhausted, I yelled out "NO!"  The marker read Trail #4!!!!  We were back to where we had been several miles ago!  That terrible motorcycle trail.  It was like one of those cartoons when the stupid cat goes in a circle and winds up right back where they started!  We had no alternative but to turn around and head back down Femrite.  Do not go left, go right!

We stop to hydrate and empty our shoes which are full of rocks and sand!  Michele says, "That's it, water emergency I'm out!"  I check mine and I have about 6 ounces left.  Time to ration!  "We get a sip every mile."  I announce.  See it was getting warm, we were VERY tired, AND we had no idea how far out we still were and how much longer we had to go.  Not a good position to be in.

Heading RIGHT on Femrite we run, walk, shuffle, drag, run, jog walk, shuffle, etc.  My shoes are already  FULL of dirt and sand again because I am not really even picking them up off of the ground in some spots.  This trail is going on FOREVER and is NOT runner friendly!  At least not after all the other trail abuse we have been put through.

We finally drop down to  a creek and see a man, a boy, and a dog.  Michele stops and begins rambling on and on to this man.  She is speaking jibberish and babbling.  He is looking at her strangely and so am I.  She is yelling too.  So I chime in and explain to him the terrible trail and getting lost and trying to find our way to Watchman.  They are both looking at me strangely too.  Later Michele told me that I was speaking jibberish too. (I wonder what that man thought of us?)  Finally he asks, "Are you lost?"  Michele cheerfully yells, "Nope not anymore, as long as this goes to watchman."  Talking slowly he replied, "Eventually."  So we smile and wave and head off.  Another climb ahead.  After a bit I stop to catch my breath and give us each one sip of the rationed water.  I look down and notice in the distance the man has stopped and is watching us with his binoculars.  He must have thought we had both lost our minds!

As we trudged along I did begin to worry.  This trail was going on forever, our water was almost gone, it was getting hot, we were exhausted and I thought...will we die here?

Just when it seemed like we might actually be in danger I spotted two trail heads at the top of YET ANOTHER HILL!  YES!  I really pushed up that hill, wanting to see, were we on the right trail?  If it was the #4 motorcycle trail....I actually think I may have cried.

EUREKA!  It was where we were supposed to be!  We had two choices, 3 bears or Watchman.  The original plan had been to do Watchman back and out which would have been anoth 3-4 miles.  Or we could take 3 bears which would be another 1 or so.  What would you have done?


At this point our knees and ankles were destroyed.  Nearly every step hurt.  But we pushed and we ran...just to be done.  The trail came out onto Rocky Canyon.  I have never been so happy to see that wretched road in my life!  We made it with less than an ounce of water to spare!  And waiting for us in the car........................

Frozen Slushy Bottles of Sprite...aaah

And so, that is the adventure on trails for us this week.  Much more than we bargained for.
After getting home and eating and rehydrating we both found that we had lost about 4 pounds.  Yikes! But we did learn some very important things.  First, when mapping out trail runs, look at the elevation gains and loses!  And secondly and every more important.......

  If you are gonna be crazy, 
don't be crazy alone!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A bad day on the trails is better than a good day on the road!

Well a week off of running for the both of us.  Michele and I were both out of town with no running.  So here we are back in town, exhausted ready to run trails! I dragged my speedy son Hunter along with us again.  He is half-way converted to the trails though sometimes he still thinks we are crazy!

We decided to run in Dry Creek area and get those trails marked off of our list.  This is up in Hidden Springs.  There are a couple problems with running up here.  First off, the trails aren't marked as well as other R2R trails.  Some have no trail heads at all!  And secondly, they are not maintained.  It is difficult to run single track trails.  It is even harder when those trails of nearly covered by long weeds and long hanging tree branches.

We promised Hunter it would be 6 miler.  He agreed to come.  At 3.75 Michele told him it was only 2.5 miles to go. Then at 6 she said we had about a mile and a half left!  "WHAT?" He yelled.  "About 2 miles ago you said we had 2.5 left!  What are you doing?"

We climbed this INTENSE hill!  Hunter was killing it!  Michele and I yelled out and reminded him there was no shame in walking.  "Yes there is!" He yelled.  Needless to say he had a good 10 minute wait for us at the top of the hill.

Whenever we run, Michele's watch always says she has ran further than me, it is annoying.  Today, mine and Hunter's watches were nearly the same and Michele's was almost a tenth or more further.  She finally explained why, "You see, my watch shows I've gone farther because it knows I am working harder than you guys."  Yah, right!

I had a hard time today for another reason.  Yesterday I had a cavity filled. No big deal right?  Oh but for some reason this time was a big deal.  My cheek is still swollen and terribly sore!  Whenever we ran down a hill my cheeks would shake and it hurt like CRAZY!  Note to all runners, do not have a cavity filled the day before a long trail run!

We did some back tracking, out and backs and such to get in the mileage today.  It was so confusing I cannot remember exactly which trails we did and in which order (though I am sure wise Michele does).  We did park on Dry Creek Road at the trail #71 parking lot.  That much I remember. Then we did Current Creek # 75 and Lookout Loop #72.  Somewhere in there we ran a neat trail that wasn't marked too. It was good running, warm out, and still green.  As far as the trail goes, this one does not make it in to my top 10. But always remember...A bad day on the trails, is better than a good day on the road!

Also, the camera on my phone broke, so we have no pictures today!  I will get Michele to take some next time!

Monday, June 11, 2012


I cannot believe it but my son Hunter won the FKT prize for May!  He gets this massive canvas print from Idaho Camera.  Here is his winning photo....

I was talking about which family picture we could use for the canvas print when he announced..."Um, I won the prize so I get to pick the picture!"  So, this weekend when we ran Sawtooth Relay he asked me to take a lot of cool pictures so he would have something to choose from.  Here is the one he has chosen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June FKT Trail Run....POLECAT!

Thanks again to the Pulse Running and Fitness shop in Meridian for another great trail idea!  This month it is Polecat.  Michele and I had the Bossy Bandit with us again.  We also convinced my son SPEEDY to join us again, but sadly his friend couldn't take running with us again...haha go figure!

Polecat is actually much closer to where I live than most other trails. Directions to the trail head: from State St., north on Pierce Park, continuing on Pierce Park through the Hill Rd intersection and past the T intersection with Cartwright, the trail head parking is on the right hand side of the road.  It is a 6 mile loop that you can run either way.  We chose to run it left (clockwise).

Before we headed out I noticed GASP! I forgot to charge my Garmin!  I only had 1 percent charge left.  No good!  I had no idea if it would last 6 miles!  Michele put her cell phone in her hydration pack and put in on Map My Run.  If I didn't have a recording of my run, I'd have no digital entry for the Pulse's Awesome Prize of new trail shoes!  

Hunter took off and was gone from our sight INSTANTLY! As we lumbered our way up a hill, two ladies came bounding down.  They informed us that we were going the direction that was harder and should turn around.  GREAT!  We hollered to Hunter (whom we couldn't even see) to get him to turn around.  No response, too late, we were committed.  We had to follow Hunter since he almost took a 20 mile detour last time he ran the trails with us.

Kris lovingly suggested that we turn around, head the other way, and then pass him eventually to really mess with his head.  Michele and I ignored her.

The trail started out with a lot of climbing, but not too bad.  I was worried about how far in front of us Hunter was getting.  I may be a runner, but I am still a MOM!  There were spurs and such that he could mistakenly take and who knows where he'd end up!  Also, I was super concerned about my watch dying!  I do not like it when I don't get a record of my runs!  So, I decided do forgo my usually enjoyable leisurely trail run with my sister and bossy and kick up the pace.

At about 2.5 miles in I came to a fork in the trail.  I knew I needed to go right.  Who do I see running towards me FROM THE LEFT?  Hunter!  He DID go the wrong way!  Good thing I sped ahead.  I was able to see him for those few moments and then ZOOM! gone again.

Meanwhile, Michele and Kris are coming down to the same fork that Hunter and I were just at.  Michele hears strange voices.  She panics and starts looking around.  Then she realizes...her iPhone is talking h=to her, telling her the mileage she is at.  Hilarious! Genius!

Normally Michele will run in front of Kris.  But today, Michele let Kris lead.  She decided that she liked this alot because, "If there is a snake or a badger on the trail, I have time to turn around and go the other way!"  Haha poor Kris.

The trail was fun, I really enjoyed it.  Hunter liked Watchman better.  Michele liked them both and I didn't ask Kris :)

On the drive home I was asking what funny things I could add to the blog about the run.  Hunter said the funniest thing was having to wait so long for Michele and Kris to finish (he waited about 10 minutes).  Kris replied, "Well, you went the wrong way so you are dumb."  What a great trail running group I have!  Feel the love!  Now you know why Hunter's friend didn't want to run with us again.