Saturday, August 1, 2015

Idaho: Hikes, Runs, Caves

Indian Cave Skylight

I'm traveling with my husband in our RV while keeping up my running habit. The running scenery this week went from blah to wow by the second run of the week.


Today I woke up in Boise, Idaho, and did a 4 mile mall parking lot run because the mall was across the street from the Cabella's where we stayed.

Then we drove to the Stanley, Idaho, area. Stanley is a tiny town with a population of 63 and has a great view of the Sawtooth Mountains.


Today we went on a 3 hour hike at Redfish Lake Trail. The 6500' elevation really slowed me down and I finally talked my husband into turning around. The lake was beautiful.

Redfish Lake

I ran 6 miles with hills today. My run took me towards Stanley Lake and I was on the lookout for bears the whole run. I ran 8 twenty second hills with a hard effort, but the 6500' elevation made it kind of hard. It was so cold that my fingers never warmed up, but at least my toes did. I made a warm chia pudding afterwards: milk, banana, chia seeds, yogurt and cinnamon.

Stanley Lake and Sawtooth Mountains
That morning, we left the Stanley RV Park for new digs. We parked for lunch in Sun Valley (at a large parking lot for the RV), drove the Jeep down the road to Ketchum for lunch, then stopped at Albertson's in Hailey where we could have easily stopped for lunch instead of in crowded Ketchum since they had some similar restaurants and then drove to a new place...

Thursday Night at the New Place

Short Hike up the Volcanic Spatter Cone Under a Blue Moon

I woke up in the Craters of the Moon National Monument campground. This park is otherworldly and so much better than I thought it would be. At 7AM, we were hiking the Broken Loop Trail and climbing into Buffalo Cave and Indian Cave. I almost skipped Indian Cave after reading about how I'd have to climb out of a small exit hole, but I'm glad I didn't. It wasn't so bad. On the way back to camp, my husband dropped me off along the road and I ran back to camp for fun.

Buffalo Cave: Small and Dark

Indian Cave Exit

We saw a fox and a couple of antelopes at and near the park. They said they have bears there, but not in the section where we stayed.

Broken Loop Trail


Today I ran 8 pain-free miles at Craters of the Moon after a sore ankle cut yesterday's run short. The 6000' elevation really slowed me down, but that's okay. I did a couple of miles on the North Crater Lava Loop Trail and the rest on the peaceful road.

We left Craters of the Moon park, but not without a bang. That was the sound of our open awning hitting a street sign in the park. Oops!

Craters of the Moon Campsite Under an Unbroken Awning

Another surprisingly interesting stop was the Atomic Museum. In 1951, this was the first nuclear plant with usable electricity.  The museum has been kept as it looked in the fifties, which made me want to stop at a fifties diner, but not my husband so we ate at Texas Roadhouse near Idaho Falls in a nice area of Ammon city where they have good sweet potatoes.

Now we're staying at an RV park in Palisades, Idaho, very close to Grand Teton Nat'l Park, but I'm not sure where we're heading next. Our wonky awning might change our plans a bit, but that's okay. There are a lot of great places to see in this part of the country.

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Run, Two States

Today I ran 12 miles in two states during one run. We're staying at Premier RV park on the Snake River in Clarkston, Washington. I ran over a bridge and into Lewiston, Idaho, and kept going until I ran to Hellsgate State Park. The park looked very much like the rest of the bike trail scenery (see top photo).

I ran 3 goal marathon paced miles, which pretty much means I ran about as fast as I could for three miles! It was my longest run since running the Missoula Marathon on July 12 and it went well. I picked up my dog for the last 2 miles so she could get some exercise before we hit the road to head south towards Boise.

Earlier this week, we were in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, which was crowded with tourists from what I could tell after grocery shopping and overhearing a store employee complain about the traffic. We stayed outside of the city, in Post Falls, where I got in a few runs from the Cabella's store where we stayed. They even had dog kennels there for campers!

Before we drove into Coeur D'Alene, we stopped in Sandpoint, Idaho, and visited the farmer's market for some good food like sun-dried tomato goat cheese and zucchini bread. I forgot to write earlier that we found raspberries and a few blackberries, too, in Montana along a drive in the woods.

The day we left Glacier National Park, they evacuated part of the park because of fires. We left on just the right day! When we were on our way out of Montana and heading towards Idaho, we came across Foys Lake. The color of the lake was just beautiful.

On a later day, we drove through McCall, Idaho, but if we're ever back there, I want to stop in that cute little wooded lake town to explore. We did stop for a lunch break on the way to Boise, in the middle of nowhere or also known as Lucille Recreation Park, and found people in the bushes which led to a discovery... We picked 2 cups of blackberries!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Glacier National Park: Hidden Lake & Bears!

Glacier National Park has been my favorite place to visit in Montana and yesterday was the best day of all! We woke up early and returned to the Hidden Lake trail head by 8:30. We wanted to try the hike again after we had to cut our hike short because of a hail storm a few days ago.

Our First Bear!

Even before the hike, the excitement began when we saw a black bear on our drive. The bear started going towards a walkway where there were some people walking towards the bear without knowing it was there so my husband yelled out to them and they ran back to their car. The bear ended up ignoring everyone, walked down the road and up a mountainside. We were happy to have finally seen a bear. Plus, saving a life or two is a great way to start your day!

A Grizzly Bear, Too!

Next up, we walked to Hidden Lake. I was really nervous when it started to rain and we were 1 1/2 hour's walk from the car, but it didn't storm today like it did before and all was well. Along the way, we saw our second bear. It was a grizzly bear and nobody seemed to mind that it was so far away. I'm not posting a photo of it - it looks like a brown dot in the picture!

Logan Pass Mountain Goats on Hidden Lake Hike

Out of the Way for the Mountain Goats!

We were really excited at the beginning of the hike to see little white dots and to be told they were mountain goats. Little did we know that we'd be walking with quite a few of them later on. We even had to get out of the way for the mountain goats with their babies walking by on the trail. It wasn't frightening - just fascinating and fun!

Hidden Lake

The almost 6 mile hike down to and back from Hidden Lake took us about 3 hours. There were some steep climbs, but it was worth it and I'm surprised that I'm not sore today. You could see the reflection of the mountains in the lake and wild flowers were everywhere. We brought a picnic lunch to eat there, but the mosquitoes were thick beside the lake so we only stopped for a quick rest and then hiked back.

Jammer Tour Cars Seen Throughout the Park

1,000 Bears, Huckleberry Ice Cream and a 4 Mile Run with Zoe

About 1,000 bears live in the park. We were so excited to finally see two of them. After the hike, we stopped at Eddie's outdoor cafe in Apgar Village for a scoop of huckleberry ice cream. Delicious!

Close to the park is the KOA where we're camped in our RV. Today I ran 4 miles on the wooded road out in front of the campground with my dog who has been at a kennel for a few days because dogs aren't allowed on the trails in the park. It felt good to do my longest run since the Missoula Marathon today.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Glacier National Park: Hike, Run, Eat

First Hike, First Post-Marathon Run - A Little Painful!

We've only been in Glacier National Park a few days and we've already seen so many wild flowers, mountains, creeks, water falls and lakes. On our first hike, we drove on the Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass to hike to Hidden Lake. Four days after running the Missoula Marathon, that was a painful first post-race run but not so much because I was sore.

Here we are happily hiking to Hidden Lake before the storm. "I hear thunder. We should turn around," said one of us.

"No, we're almost there!" said the other. Then the rain turned into ice. The ice pellets hitting our freezing faces and legs hurt like fire. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Here's a video of the hike where we talk about it.

Second Hike with a Fun Run Down the Mountain

Avalanche Lake Hike
Yesterday, which was the next day, we hiked up the somewhat steep trail to Avalanche Lake and then we ran down the trail - my husband's idea! I liked hopping over rocks and roots.

Afterwards, we stopped at Lake McDonald Lodge to eat at the nice restaurant there and played a game of chess in the large foyer. Oh, and the person who thought that we should turn around when we first heard the thunder also won the chess game... Just sayin'!

Camping in our RV 

We're camping just outside of Glacier National Park on the west side. On the way to Glacier from Missoula, my husband and I stayed at the Kalispell Walmart. Close by was a sports store where I tried on the hydration pack designed by Jenny Jurek - seemed to fit well. Then we drove to west Glacier where we stayed at the woodsy Glacier Campground and now we're at the West Glacier KOA - best thing about it is the short wooded road in front of the campground where I got in a short run.

Yummy Foods Lately
  • Nutella Crepe from Amazing Crepes in Whitefish, MT - I need a crepe recipe so I can make these.
  • Housemade Granola Bar sold at the register at West Glacier Restaurant for only $1 - large, kept it in my backpack for many hikes.
  • Bread Pudding Recipe (single serving, I added banana) - today's breakfast!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Missoula Marathon Race Recap

Marathon #17
The Missoula Marathon was my 17th marathon and Montana is my 9th state to run a marathon in!

The Start

The marathon runs from Frenchtown into Missoula. Since I stayed at the RV park close to the start, rather than take the bus from Missoula to the start, I was able to get a ride to Frenchtown with another runner staying at the park.

The course started out flat with a few horses and farms to look at along the way. Everything was going fairly well and I was pretty close to the 4:00 pacers until the 11.5 mile aid station when I suddenly felt light headed and started wheezing (felt like I was hyper-ventilating, unusual). I drank some Gatorade Endurance and by the time I finished walking through the aid station, I was better, but my speed was gone.

The Prettiest, But Hardest Part

Then the hills began. I wondered if walking them would be as fast as running them! Still, that was my favorite part because it was the scenic part of the course with pines and nice houses on the side of a mountain. I took pictures later when we drove the course (see top two photos).

The Bad & the Good: Cramps & Musicians

We ran out of the hills and into Missoula. The spectators and volunteers called out to us, which is always so encouraging. A guitarist sang out a little diddy using our race number! There was a grand piano player (like at the Big Sur Marathon) and a classical guitarist, too. They kept my mind off of my toe cramps. I also had toe cramps at the Kona Marathon, which had similar humid weather.

Finished with a Smile
After My Finish, I Took a Picture of the Finish Line
The last part was a downhill slope (not too much downhill, but just right) and then we ran over a bridge and heard our name called out and they said that I was finishing my 17th marathon on the loud speaker. You should have heard the crowd cheer!

I saw my husband with our dog right away, which was good because I couldn't telephone him because my phone was suddenly all in Greek... When I finished, I took my phone out of my pocket for a picture and somehow all the phone text had changed to Greek. Even the Verizon service person couldn't figure out what happened with it.

Another gadget snafu is that my Garmin Forerunner 220 showed a low battery at mile 23 so I couldn't see my distance. That made those last miles seem longer and I wondered if I'd finish before it died. I did.

Finisher's Shirt & Bib, Tank and Gels for Race Day
More Race Info

Expo: From our RV park which is filled with beautiful flowers, it was a quick 15 minute drive to the expo in downtown Missoula. Picking up my race packet was quick at the small expo. I like the shirt. We visited the farmer's market held beside the expo for some treats like huckleberries, tomatoes and cherries. Then I stopped in at the Runner's Edge store for a free ice cream sandwich. They had Tailwind (good!) and the new pizza flavored Clif Bar gels (haven't tried).

Free Photo for Finishers and the Medal
Weather: In the 60's and a little humid. Cloud cover most of the morning and an early start at 6AM made it a fairly comfortable race day. A spectator yelled out that I wasn't even breaking a sweat in the last mile and that felt almost true!

Fuel Pre-race: Three hours before the start, I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a small banana, an egg and coffee.

Fuel During the Race: I ate 2-3 Clif bar strawberry gels that were handed out and 4 of my GU gels: Maple Bacon (my first, good!), Blackberry, Salted Watermelon and Salted Caramel. I started gels at mile 3 and ate them every 3-4 miles, saving the salted gels for last. Also, I drank Gatorade Endurance that was on the course.

Fuel Post-race: A local grocery store offered runners quinoa salad, cheese sticks, watermelon and fig newton cookies. As usual, my stomach wasn't ready for too much food right after the marathon, though.

Gear: Brooks Ravenna shoes, Skirt Sports Adventure Girl SkirtGarmin Forerunner 220

The Numbers:

Finish time: 4:30:58
Average Pace: 10:20/mile
Place: 538 out of 1016
45-49 Women's Age Group: 14th out of 34
Missoula Elevation: 3209'
Missoula Marathon Elevation Gain: 382' (per Garmin)
1,016 Marathoners

Next time I'd probably start out slower and drink more during the race. I made some fun memories, have a new race shirt and, as always, I'm happy that I finished!

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