Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Travels

The start of summer brought some worry about how I was going to spend my free time. Never having been a public school employee before, I was a bit wired about summers off. No need to worry, the summer is BOOKED! First up was a week in Bozeman for a school conference. Steve and Buddy joined me and we camped at a beautiful spot in Hyalite Canyon. We saw so many gorgeous places and I kept forgetting the camera.

Due to my conference and limited time, I had to deal with morning road runs. Buddy and I got up early to get 4 miles in each morning. Easy to do when you are in a heavenly place.

As we were setting up for a campfire one night, we noticed black clouds rolling in. The thunder and rain continued throughout the night. It was kind of soothing and I slept well, but others obviously did not. When Buddy and I left for our morning run, campers emerged wet and tired, and started packing it up. Too bad, because they missed out on a spectacular, full of sunshine day!
Buddy and I took advantage of it and ran an old and very muddy logging road as the last of the clouds disappeared. It curved up and around eventually overlooking (from 6700 feet up) our campsite area.

No wildlife, but I did bring bear spray. Lots of tracks though.

On the return trip we followed the creek back to our campsite.

We debated staying another day, but Steve was suffering from a pretty nasty head cold, so we came home to prepare for the next adventure. My marathon schedule called for 13 miles (no, I still haven't decided which marathon, but aiming for one in September). Buddy and I left the house a little after 6 am to escape the blazing sun. Even so, it was getting warm as we reached the top of Mt. Ascension. Bud took some breaks in the shade, but was a stubborn bugger, refusing to drink any water.

We both admired the varieties of wild flowers.

And other little critters out there.

Steve was nice enough to come and rescue Bud at mile 6. It was just too hot for him. My run continued under cloudless sky and 75 degrees. Despite my sunscreen, I felt like I was being slowly fried. The views were stunning though, which kept my mind occupied until I finally reached mile 13 and walked the rest of the way home.

I can tell the core and back work is making a difference. Even on the hard days, I feel much stronger. Hopefully, that will motivate me to continue and not return to being the lazy slug I like to be.

A couple days here, and then I'm off to North Dakota for the home town reunion. It will be nice to see the family, but I'm not a fan of these kind of things. Gossip, drinking and street dances oh my! At least there will be some early morning prairie runs to keep me smiling.

Oh, and before I forget, send some good thoughts the way of Rebecca - on her way to completing her first Ironman!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ridge Run

In all the time I've spent in the Helena area, I'd never completed the entire Mt. Helena Ridge Trail. A few friends and dog, Yuri, were going to hike it one way, so I joined their shuttle up to the Park City Trailhead. The first 1.5 miles were spent catching up and admiring the scenery and the first blue sky we've seen in awhile. It was hard to start running and leave the company behind.
Once I got going though, it was all smiles and sweet singletrack. Some areas were shady, but I was glad I left Buddy at home. With his abundance of fur, he would not have been very comfortable.

The actual Ridge trail is only about 6 miles long. It's all runnable, with only a few short climbs along the way. I wanted to get in 11 miles today, with some climbing. Once back to Mt. Helena, I descended a fun, fast McKelvy Trail, only to climb, climb, climb straight back up on the Hanging Draw and Prospect Shafts trails to the top. I made a short out and back to check the girls' progress, then got to do a screaming 1.5 downhill to the main parking lot.

I did much better today with fueling. The combination of Gu, Shot Roks, Luna bars and Nuun seemed to work. I definitely need protein for long runs, otherwise, I'm shaking like a leaf on the way to a major crash. Once again, an absolutely beautiful day!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tread Lightly

Since I've got extra time on my hands (meaning SUMMER VACATION!!!!), I visited a new running store "Tread Lightly." I'd been in once before to buy a running leash
and then ended up injured. Now that I'm running again - more on that later - I wanted to check out the rest of the store. Lots of fun stuff, including hydration belts, cute clothes, Gu and Hammer products, and a whole lotta shoes including my much loved Brooks Cascadias. Be sure to check it out when you're in Helena at 104 East Broadway.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip to the Flathead

First of all, Happy Birthday Buddy! The picture is from his 5th birthday and 1st anniversary with us. Such a good camping dog.
The last three weeks of the school year flew by in a whirlwind of activity. During that time, I did start running again, much to the dismay of my physical therapist. Thankful I had started again though, so I could join my old running group GGRRC for the one year anniversary of our friend Tom's awful grizzly encounter. We ran the same trail, listening to Tom's memories of that day. And, yes, we had bear spray with us. As you can see below, the day started out chilly. Across the road, we got to see a large moose in the creek. After a few of us taking pre-run pit stops, I looked up to see a large black bear right in our path. I need to sound more panicky in times like this, because my couple announcements of "Bear." "Bear." didn't seem to do the trick. But, there he was!
We chased him off the trail and continued on our way. Below is Tom telling his story.
And, Danni, reciting the Ode to Tom's Bear, that she and Ted created. Wish I had it videotaped, because it was dang funny.There were several people on the trail as we made our way to Avalanche Lake. They'd cheer us on making at least me feel like a rock star!As you can see, it was a beautiful sunny day!

I did bonk a little on the return trip. Danni was nice enough to give me some Clif Shot Roks that did the trick. As we made our way back to the car, we stopped suddenly as Deb and Tom yelled out. A SECOND black bear - right on the trail! Nice to be with a big group, so we could admire and continue on.

All in all, a perfect day on the trail.