The husband and I had planned our vacation to Montana MONTHS before the phrase "trail marathon" was even in my vocabulary. Turns out, the phrase gets into my vocabulary, and the trip lands right on FINAL LONG RUN weekend. DOH!
I planned a run, like I do in Indiana. A 10 mile trail right across the street from a 6 mile trail. In Yellowstone. I figured I would add on a few miles at the end. Sure it's at elevation, but I'll start slow and then slow down. Just get the miles in. In my head it was going to be amazing! It was all going to look like this.
Here we go...... Trail one = 10 miles. Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls. The word peak should have clued me in right away. Whoops. 3 miles up to the top of an 8,000ish foot peak. But it was early and fun and magic. And here's me at the top.
And the climb up was horrible (I was right too). We should have paid more attention to this sign.
We climb out of the falls and I felt like my legs were going to fall off. This is not Indiana trail running. And I am an idiot. Thankfully, there was a little bit of even ground that I felt like I could get some sensible running on. Husband looks at me and says, "we could just do that trail again". Ha ha ha so funny. If I coulda caught him I would have punched him. And I'm thinking, is a 10 mile run close enough to a 20 mile run? No it is not.
On to trail two.
It started out more level, through some nice scrubby stuff. Lovely to not be climbing a mountain. But there was definitely more up to come. And more bear crap! Fantastic. We were tired and it was no longer fun to to warn the bears we were coming. I found myself just shouting random things like, "I'm running". My husband just looked back and said he was so tired that he didn't care if a bear ate him anymore. Agreed.
We then ran in to a couple of hikers that told us what great views were ahead of us. FYI great views=more up. Crap. We were running up to this rocky area called the Hoodoos that would have been amazing if we weren't in some kind of zombie march. And I kept thinking, what if this doesn't come out in the right place? The thought of any extra miles was terrifying! We crested a hill (yes, more up) and I almost broke into tears. OUR CAR! I could see the car!!!! That lit a fire in me and I ran again
All in all, we ended up with 17 miles. Not the 20 I had intended, but what an adventure! I don't know if any of it is enough to get me through this race, but at least I won't have to worry about bears on race day. No bear threat = win. Let's do this thing.