so, idaho was a great time.
2 weeks of crunching up and down the boise foothills was pretty tiring, but my hosts made it well worth the trek out west.
the day before i left i had an adventure running from boise to shafer butte and back...something i did during my visit a few years ago, but this time there was 3 feet of snow up there.
starting before sunrise, the hills were gorgeous. i quickly shed my tights and gained altitude to enter the snow zone. i wondered whether i'd meet the sun at the ridge, or if it would beat me there?
turns out i don't recall the exact moment when day broke, because i was just out cruising.
after several half mile long section with deep crusty snow, when i wondered if this trek was even possible in a single day, i made it to the ski slopes around noon. running on the groomed surfaces was such a treat, no worries about post-holing and pulling a muscle. i was even able to run effectively up the final grade above 7000' (which was a nice bonus for all this training), but ski patrol literally stopped me in my tracks 200 yards from the peak. apparently it's against insurance policy to travel uphill on the ski slopes. i got to run (escorted) down the ski mountain, and inhaled a cheeseburger and fries at the lodge, after which i headed down bogus basin road for 1 mile to connect back to the snowy ridge road.
a wrong turn soon thereafter led me down, down, down, and necessitated a cross country (off trail) ascent of the ridge.
what an adventure packed into 1500'!
as the afternoon receded into evening i arrived at 8th st extension and really brought the run home....8 miles all down hill as the sky was set off with every color of the rainbow. the day and the run and my mind were all in the "right place."
two weeks in boise meant a great deal to me, and i'll draw enthusiasm from my time and friends there for quite a while.
just 6 days later i went back at it in north georgia
the springer it forward (http://matthewkirk.blogspot.com/2011/03/springer-it-forward.html)
run went down yesterday, and was quite a success.
perhaps not in the traditional way, where you exceed your expectations and enjoy the adulation of the 6 people who care, but in the more fundamentally important way....the way where you are satisfied and happy.
after working all day thursday and hurriedly packing up, i headed to springer mountain (with extra flashlight battery stop in dahlonega) and parked at 11:35...so much for a few moments of rest before going for 24 hours!
i set out immediately just to make it to the start by midnight.
boy o boy - the howling winds and snow were not what i had envisioned.
for 7 hours i glided through the dark woods, happy that i was out there, but spending precious energy buffering the cold and dealing with the extra muddy trails (luckily by midmorning the mud would all be ice)
popping out at neels gap before 8am, i was greeted by a couple enthusiastic buddies who would comfort me throughout the trek. jim ran 21 miles from neels to unicoi, and then later did the night shift from 9pm-1am finishing at the NC line. he was upbeat and enjoying his time in the mountains. james took the zombie patrol and walked behind me from unicoi to dicks creek...there's a reason this guy hangs out with me, and it ain't because he thinks i'm smart.
never the less, what a great friend to suffer through the freezing and thankless job of ushering me during the low times. thanks james.
as the sun sank, i saw two potentialities...
1. continue from dicks creek to NC, and probably miss my FKT by a few minutes, and be really uncomfortable...this option also sort of precluded continuing into NC, because the bailout points were very inconvenient for my buddies.
or 2. take a drive down the mountain, grab a meal and a hotel room for a 30 minute nap, and then return to the trail and shoot for a midnight finish at bly gap. i "liked" this option because it would allow me to experience the recooperation possible from a nap after 36 hours of going (a fair approximation of finishing the fun run and then taking a short rest before heading out onto loop 4 at barkley)....and it also made me summon some special motivation: to go down to a comfy hotel room and then willingly subject myself to another 4+ hours back on my feet in the middle of the night....well, let's just say i wasn't terribly excited about the feelings my muscles were going to experience.
in the end, the discipline was practiced, and success was achieved. we enjoyed a great day in a beautiful place, and i put a decent stamp on the barkley training for this year's even bigger success to come.