Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yellowstone Long Run. This isn't Indiana

I've been running all kinds of trails in Indiana to get ready for this trail marathon on August 4th. When I plan out a long run I just figure out how many miles I need to go and find some trails to match. Done and done.

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.

Major concern was bears but the husband and I kept talking and shouting things. It was funny. We skittered back down to lower ground and headed toward the falls. And then we went down. And down, and down, and down. And my knees were aching. I kept saying to husband, "I don't know if I can climb back outta this". And he kept telling me to suck it up and keep going. He said it in a nicer way, but that's what I heard... The falls were awesome (dang it, he was right).

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.


  1. I absolutely covet the second picture in this post! What a Rave Run!

  2. Erin H. you are an amazing human being!!

  3. E, I was walking up, up & up in Colorado at the same time you running up & up in Montana. I enjoyed your blog as much as I grooved on the CO scenery. Bears: While fishing with Jesse & Heidi a park ranger stopped to tell us that a bear was 'in the area.' Jess asked if we should go find the bear since it probably was catching the fish we weren't. Great people, great ideas. 'Keep on truckin,' truckin' on down/up the line. T, Athens, OH.

  4. Hey, Erin, Skye is inspiring me w/her running and you are inspiring her. May haps, she will do a marathon...

    1. Skye is totally going to do a marathon. She just doesn't realize it yet :)