Last week, Kale and I (typically fairly careful planners) decided to throw caution to the wind and head for the hills. How spontaneous and fun of us 🙂 Every summer, my dad packs up a horse trailer with horses, saddles, and camping equipment and heads west for a week of riding and being one with nature. Since childhood, I have usually joined him on such adventures but have been unable to join the last few summers as I was either out of the country or moving. This year, I figured, would be the same story, since we had just moved from California to Minnesota the week before and were anticipating starting our jobs soon. When I found out that my start date for work would be set back a few weeks due to slow paperwork processing, it was just in time to throw some clothes in a pack, put our camping equipment together and head to my dad’s for an early start the next morning.
This year’s trip was planned for the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, a favorite spot of mine. It’s a LONG drive, but the scenery is absolutely spectacular. It’s pretty remote and rustic, which means no phones, internet, or TV which suits me just fine. It’s nice to get away from all of that once in awhile.
The weather was absolutely perfect all week. We had some wonderful trail rides through the mountain trails and up to mountain lakes. Kale hasn’t ridden horses that many times, but you would have never guessed! He was a regular cowboy. We slept in a tent, ate outside, had a fire every night, hiked, sat in the hammock and read/napped after rides, and took in the peaceful and beautiful scenery.
I did some running during our time out there, although it wasn’t too pretty. The first full day we were there, I ran an easy 4 miles, and by easy I just mean SLOW. It wasn’t actually easy at all. Turns out running in the mountains, up and down hills at high altitude is grueling! It was good for me though. I ran two other times, one 7 mile run and another 4. I ran my long run (14 miles) on Sunday night when we returned to Minneapolis. I couldn’t beat the scenery though in Wyoming. There was no traffic, no other people, lots of wildlife, and it’s really such a magnificent area.
I just read this article about the effects of high altitude training. It describes (briefly) what happens physiologically and gives tips on high altitude running. Check it out if you’re heading to the mountains this summer!
A friend sent me this link from theOatmeal.com, have you seen it? The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. Loved it.