One might argue that an ultra-runner should attempt an "easy" hundred mile run before they go for the tough mountain hundreds (these tough ones are the courses to aspire to - for obvious reasons). You could learn all about strategy - the art of fueling, and pacing yourself, and night running, etc. Probably good advice - but there is a select subset of the crazies (ultra-runners) who prefer to learn through hard-ship/mistakes. Maybe they can only learn effectively this way. I suppose I might be one of those...
And I had no interest in putting myself through 100 miles of stupidness just to "learn" how to run 100s. Whatever. Let's see how this goes:
I pitched the idea to Joanne: Hey, do you think a cool family vacation would be to drive 13 hours up to Idaho to a "rustic" cabin featuring hot springs and taking care of the kids while I hike in the mountains for 30ish hours? She said YES! And I knew I was the luckiest guy in the world. Or I had just racked up the biggest spousal debt imaginable, including endless foot/back massages, watching the kids for a/lot "mom's night" out, and/or limitless "bed, bath and beyond" splurge. Who cares. Live in the moment, right?
To be fair: The cabin was legit. I mean it had a bed. Even a loft with a couple of more beds where you throw the kids. A table. The works. Even an outhouse to pee in across the dirt road...The views couldn't be beat. The Burgdorf hot springs are really nice. There were a couple of covered 113 degree pools that spilled over into the main pool that cooled off to something a little more comfortable and then dumped out into a stream. Crystal clear warm water. It was really nice. And the kids loved it. Lots of floats for kids to play with, other kids, etc. The one issue that we came across, and I must admit total guilt on this one, was that we couldn't get the silly stove to work. I mean I understand the equations regarding combustion and fuel/air ratios... I know the fuel entering the chamber an the exhaust gasses leaving out of the pipe. I took that class. But for the life of me, I could not figure out how to make that dang thing burn the wood and make heat for us...I am sure it was a defect of the machinery and not the operator.
Anyways, I am pretty sure the family just slept in to enjoy the cozy morning while I got up at six a.m. to start running. Every year IMTUF changes the direction that they run the loop. This year we happened to run the loop in the "clockwise" direction, which meant that we covered the "easy" terrain first. It was really nice running, very cushy trails with gentle gradients, reminded me a lot of northern California! Until we reached the climb up to Diamond ridge. It wasn't a steep climb or anything. Not at the beginning at least. But it would have been difficult to "run" this trail. There was a lot of water, and a lot of bushes in the way. But I was having a blast just hiking this section. Then we started leaving the trees and it got steep and more fun. The views were great.
|Beautiful section along a river.|
|Starting the climb up to diamond ridge. Views were nice.|
|I just came up that valley. It got steep and fun at this section.|
|Looking down the other side of diamond ridge. Bid downhill coming.|
|My escort going into Upper Payette Aid Station. Mile 33.|
|Views from Duck Lake trail. Awesome.|
|Jeremy, Jeremy, and another guy. The middle Jeremy is the race director. Puts a TON of energy into making this race work.|
|Snowslide Lake. Crazy climb to get here. Crazy climb to get to the other side of the pass.|
|Views from Snowslide pass.|
|What I did instead of running the rest of the race.|
So what now? I am still trying to figure it out. I trained as hard and as specific as I could this summer. I was as physically prepared as I thought I could be. But it was not to be. I'm not unhappy, just disappointed with the results. This isn't over. There are plenty of miles to be run and mountains to be climbed. To be continued...