Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grand Teton National Park, WY

If you ever visit GTNP, you need to do what I did...

  • Go on a class 3 raft ride down the Snake River. I was a little afraid to try rafting for the first time, but I had to be brave in front of our friends visiting from back home who went with us. That was one of my favorite things that I've done on my long vacation across the country with my husband. (Photo: I'm in the middle in the blue hat.)

Jenny Lake

  • Run on the trails around Jenny Lake for nearly 3 hours while my husband and friends sat around waiting for the fish to bite. At least they saw a big one swim by...

The Trail Around Jenny Lake

  • Carry bear spray. Buy the 9 oz. bottle because at least it sprays for 7 seconds. Take it on your Jenny Lake trail run and call out, "Bear, bear!" every few seconds. I spied four moose and heard there was a bear on the trail where I ran.

  • Run from Jackson, Wyoming, to the GTNP for a 16 miler along Hwy.89 beside the elk reserve where I didn't see any elk. (I saw some later.) Take a picture of the entrance sign just seconds before a tour bus unloads. 

Jackson, Wyoming

  • Visit Jackson, about 30 minutes from Jenny Lake, to walk around the town and shop for your post-run cool-down! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Denver and Cheyenne: Running and History

Denver Trails!
I ran 9 miles in Denver on the Bluffs Regional Park Trails on Tuesday. After running the 10K race in Leadville over the weekend, I was ready to run more hills in Denver. I ran alongside three deer and I could see downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. We stayed at a Cabella's in our RV, which was right off of the Ridgegate Trail in Lonetree, Colorado, that took me to the park - a perfect location!

Only 4 Minutes to Set up the First Time!

We went to the REI store in Denver to look at camping equipment and running gear. It only took 4 minutes to set up an REI MSR tent. We're thinking about doing some back country camping someday and wanted to try it out. More than one person told us they have the same tent and love it while we set it up.

Red Rocks Entrance, Denver

We stopped by Red Rocks in Denver, but couldn't get in to see the amphitheater because a show was getting ready to start. We saw a live snake caught in some netting - a good reminder to keep my eyes open for snakes because we walked by it without seeing it on our way to the Red Rocks entrance.

Want an Earth Roamer!

We stopped at the EarthRoamer shop to look inside one of these $400,000 vehicles. They're self-sustainable. It's fun to imagine going off-road in one.

Now we're staying at an RV park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The wifi isn't great here so I'm rushing to put my post together before I lose my connection again. Rush, rush!

From the RV park, I ran 5 miles yesterday. I found a town path to run on that had Energi Playworld park exercise equipment on it. I tried the balance disk, but only for a bit because I forgot that I'd seen it there and I'd already done some strength training in the RV. It was a little crowded in our RV where I was doing push-ups in the hallway. Umm, honey, can you wait to open the bathroom door so I can finish my push-ups, please?!

Ft. Laramie Barracks

Yesterday, we visited nearby Fort Laramie. It was a nice, quiet place to walk around and see the old buildings from the 1800's. It was dog friendly, too, so Zoe got to walk with us there.

Later, we stopped to see some ruts left by the pioneer's wagons. Zoe is sitting in the ruts left in the rocks and pondering the bravery of the pioneers...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Leadville 10K Race Report (Plus Breckenridge!)

Today I raced in the Leadville Trail 10K, "America's Highest 10K", in Colorado. The course is held on the first and last 3.1 miles of the Leadville 100 mile race and it was the hardest 10K race I've ever run. This is probably as close as I'll ever be to running the Leadville 100 mile race! 

The race starts at 10,150' elevation and has some rolling hills on a paved and a dirt road with few spectators and a total drop and rise of 400'. The elevation made it feel like I couldn't take a deep breath so I tried to forget about it and not take such deep breaths. Little breaths work, too! 

With My Finisher's Cup
I started the race with a bottle of Camelbak raspberry lime hydration drink, which was available at the start. At the mid-point, there was an aid station where I filled my 22 oz. bottle with grape GU Brew. I don't usually drink nearly that much at a 10K, but I was thirsty and hoped it would keep me going.

Since I saved some energy for the long hill in the last mile and never quit running, I passed 15 people just before the finish - a first. I finished in 1:05:33. It was a fun race through some nice woods. I'm glad I did it even though I was a little nervous about the hills and elevation at the start line.

1st Place Racer Interviewed at Finish Line: 100 miles in sub 6:00!

On the day before my race, Saturday, my husband and I who are traveling the US in our RV, watched the first through fourth place winners finish the Leadville 100 mile mountain bike race - exciting because they were so close to each other. Then we drove around Turquoise Lake where we happened to see some of the racers on the course there, too. 

Leadville 100 MTB Racers
Friday, we biked through Breckenridge and stopped for a turkey, mozzarella and basil pesto crepe - good combo! I stopped at a running store, also on Main Street, for some running fuel: Skratch and Tailwind drink powders and VFuel gel. I've never tried Skratch, with natural ingredients, before so I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like. I'll do that on a future run somewhere in this great country of ours. Yellowstone, maybe?! We'll see!

Breckenridge Main St. Park 
For now, we're staying at a park close to Buena Vista where we have good wifi, but there's a little more to see in tiny Leadville, and next time, I'd rather stay at the campground near Turquoise Lake. Also, we're so close to some great mountains for hiking that hiking up some 14'ers sounds like fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hike and Run in Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park

Today I'm in one of my favorite places - Estes Park, Colorado, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park! This week, we hiked in the mountains and ran in and walked around Estes Park with a stop at Laura's for homemade Oreo Cheesecake ice cream, toffee and a cookie.

12,000' Elevation
My husband and I climbed 226 steps from the Alpine Visitor Center to the top of a mountain that is 12000' above sea level. Surprisingly, it wasn't too hard. Maybe that's because I was distracted by counting the steps. That hike was after I ran 7 miles with 2 at a hard effort in the morning.

Emerald Lake (My Husband is Along Water's Edge)
I've felt the elevation on some hikes, which causes shortness of breath and slows me down, like when we hiked for over two hours and saw three lakes (all near Bear Lake), Nymph, Dream and Emerald (10,110' elevation). That morning, I ran 3 hilly miles in Estes Park towards Mary's Lake.

Running from the RV Park (good wifi there) into Estes Park and to Lake Estes has been convenient. The lake is two miles away and main street is even closer. Wednesday, I ran 14 miles mostly beside Lake Estes. I drank Cytomax and ate four dates. It was windy and a little hilly, but the views were gorgeous and I saw some deer running through front yards.

Lake Estes

After my 14 mile run, I fueled up to get ready for more hiking. I knew I'd need lots of energy! We hiked to Cub Lake (8620' elevation) on a loop which took us passed Pool Lake (a bridge and rocky area) where we met up with another hiker who told us he'd just seen a bear on our trail. That was one of my favorite hikes because it wasn't all uphill and then all downhill like many of our hikes.

Alberta Waterfall

After that 3 hour hike, we hiked another hour to see Alberta Falls (9400' elevation).  I was tired by then, but the falls, the boulders and the pines and aspens were gorgeous and worth the energy. That night, it took me two seconds to fall asleep!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Running in Idaho, Utah & Wyoming!

Park City, Utah
Another week of travels in our RV for my husband and I! I ran in three states this week. 

We arrived in Park City in time for the Tour de Utah. Now I know just what it's like for the travelers stuck in traffic on race day. We saw some of the pro bicyclists in the race as we sat on the highway waiting. It made for an interesting traffic jam as we watched the race. But let's go back to the beginning of the week...

Week of August 2

Sunday- Rest


Let's Run, Stranger!

This friendly dog joined me on my 7 mile run for all of my "3 miles at hard effort" when I ran in a neighborhood beside the RV park in Idaho where we stayed on our way to Jackson WY. Park description - very slow wifi, tight RV spaces and only one dryer.


Ogden, Utah

Rather than head towards Jackson, WY, as planned, we drove south towards Salt Lake City so we could get get an estimate on the repair of our broken RV awning. Monday we stayed south of Ogden, Utah. That gray line in the upper section of the photo is the mark left when a steel plate flew through the air off of a passing truck and hit our RV window recently. It hit directly in front of my seat. Thankfully, it didn't break the window even though it hit it hard.

We stayed at the Riverdale Walmart (north of Salt Lake City, Utah) where we had great wifi, which meant I was able to read blogs. : ) I ran 4 miles on the nicely landscaped area behind the store.


Olympic Park
I had a great 7 mile hilly run on a trail heading towards Park City. I'd like to run that trail again. Later, we walked through Park City, which is a cute little town of restaurants and shops. We stayed at a Walmart in Kimball Junction, just outside Park City, Utah, where we enjoyed a mountain and Olympic Park view.


Jordanelle State Park, Utah
We stayed two nights at Jordanelle State Park between Park City and Heber City. You can see our blue Jeep and RV in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo.

Deer and Baby
I ran 10.5 miles and saw 10 deer and a skunk. That was the closest I've ever been to a skunk and after we both stared at each other a moment, I ran off the other way - fast! I wanted to run 13, but the hills and trails took so long to run that I cut it short.

Friday- Rest, Drove to Wyoming


I ran 5.5 miles on a bike trail from the Laramie, WY, Walmart where we saw pronghorn antelope in a field next to the store!

This Week-

35 miles of running, 3 strength training workouts, 3 states, fun times!

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.

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