Stephen, Charlie and I hit the roads on Friday exactly at 9 am, as planned. The drive went by really fast and uneventful, with only one mishap – Charlie puked his guts out the whole way, even after it seemed he had nothing left. The boy has a motion sickness. We made it to Boise in 7 hrs flat, scaring Theresa with our early arrival (although we did loose an hour to a time zone).
A word or two about our Boise hosts. Back when I just moved to Portland, just met a few folks here and just got on a PNW ultra list, an email pops up – I’d like to run with you. Theresa, her husband Jeff and their 3 kids Tanner, Kaitlyn, and Brody lived in a Mecca of Father Clem – Corvallis, OR. Theresa is a natural-borne runner. He may not have time to train much, she teaches a bunch of spin classes, she shuttles and entertains 3 kids and works jobs, they both take great care of kids and a house (and two dogs) – yet she is flying fast! And she was on Montrail team before my time. So we met once for a Gorge run, ran in a couple of races together (I mean, she always beat me, but it was the same race on the same day type of thing) and she lent me her uniform team for Avalon in 2006 when I haven’t gotten mine yet. That was it, as shortly after that the family moved to Boise, ID for good. We kept exchanging emails and making plans for running and racing together (like this year’s Bighorn and SS50 were supposed to be a reunion races), and I was invited for a visit numerous times. This weekend was that very one I had to make it work.
As soon as I walked into the house, I broke my fingernail – and then chipped off my tooth trying to bite the nail off…hmm, what’s next? Luckily, that was all remotely not wonderful happen to me the whole time.
Kids and dogs got introduced, had some pizza and went in to the backyard to jump on trampoline, while Theresa and I grabbed a couple of dogs and went for a short run to get introduced to a trail system in Boise. The town is greatly located at the foothills of mountains, and that cropped outing gave me an idea of Saturday ahead. The vistas are vast – no trees there, unless you climb up above 6,000 feet, and you can see for miles and miles ahead, what is quite scary, and the uphills seem gentle yet they are relentless – add to it elevation between 3,000 to 6,000 feet, and you got me going even slower than usual.
Theresa and I woke up early, but took awhile to get ready for the long run (just imagine – Jeff was not only babysitting our kids and dogs, but also fixing my car and getting ready for b-b-q at night!). Of course, when you have two blonds in the same car (neither is natural though), who hasn’t seen each other in a longest time, it took us half an hour driving through neighborhoods to find a trailhead. But on our way there was a funniest coincidence one can only imagine: Boise has a pizza place that randomly draws a name once a week and the first 5 people with this name get a free pizza. So here it was!
I mean, how many Olga’s do you know in US? And how many of them would ever live in Boise, ID??!! Since I wasn’t afraid to get scooped, we decided to come back after the run.
At 9 am we finally started that gentle upgrade on the trail. In 10 min I was breathing erratically and searching for my inhaler. It took me full 40 min to get adjusted to trying to slog up (don’t even hope, I took walk breaks as much, if not more, as I ran), and Theresa patiently ran behind. I felt so bad making her suffer! But every time I’d look at her face and see a widest smile, I’d realize that pace really doesn’t matter when two friends are out there enjoying the trails and the sun!!
In about 2 hrs we reached the top of our wondering (and even some trees) and ran along the ridge, dodging bikers and motorcyclists along the way. You know how I always say – I love the trees, I can’t live without green, I can’t run in desert setting…there was a very special beauty in those hills, and I could see that yes, I can live here, and I can run here, and I can love it out here too! We took downhills, and then ups again, and some more down, more up – nothing flat in the mountains around Boise! At some point we ran into a gal with a friendliest Golden retriever and stopped to chat – what do you know, she recently ran her first ultra, loves trails, but is moving away in 2 weeks! A potential running partner for Theresa had showed up and was gone just like that…
Running downhill was awesome, we had so much fun, we didn’t realize that first of all, we are out of water and food, and second, the “two blond” played it’s trick again and we were further away from the car than Theresa anticipated! I could care less, I had a grand time, I wanted more miles and more hours – and there I had it! We contemplated for a minute going “cross-country”, but thought better of it and went around – more up, and more up, and finally another long downhill. As soon as we hit a creek, I got my bottle full – yumm!! I drink from creeks all year long, but didn’t pressure Theresa to try it just in case, and besides she felt much better than myself – the altitude adjustment (or rather not-adjusted for me) gave me signs of dehydration. And we got sun tan!!
Finally, out of nowhere, there it was, the car at the end of the trails, 6 hrs later after we started, and while I felt tired and worked hard, I was sad it was over…
We drove to the park where Jeff brought the kids to, swapped duties (Jeff went for a mountain bike ride), and took the kids to that pizza place. Remember, it was My Day? Not only was I getting a free pizza, I got to make it too!! I put on an apron and worked the dove, then threw on it all the toppings I ever imagined to be together, and put it in the oven!
Kids patiently waited for this experiment…
And the end result was awesome!
Later in the evening Jeff cooked great b-b-q while kids went crazy again .
As the presence of my family wasn’t enough, Sam Holmes drove by from Aspen to Corvallis with his friend and a dog and they stopped by for a meal, a bear, a guitar playing and a sleep over.
Sunday we decided to squeeze another run in, it was a beautiful morning with rising sun and a fresh smell of sage bush, and the five of us (Theresa, Sam, myself, Sam’s dog Betsy and Charlie) ran for an hour of gorgeous Boise trails. I couldn’t get enough of it! But finally it was time to go…sad when fun comes to end, but now I know where to head for more of it!
The drive to Seattle airport was long, I was falling asleep, and the only thing that kept me awake was chewing on food – I intend to not step on scale for another week. About 60 miles east of Seattle we hit snow storm (wild! from sunny 60F to snow and then rain and then back to sun), and I realized what a drive we made through time zones and weather changes. We got the SeaTac exactly on the spot with not a minute to spare – and no wait time either – to pick up Oleg and Alex from their trip. The boys were glowing from their own fantastic vacation, and I’ll post pictures in a few days to not overwhelm you on that.
It was great. It was awesome. It was worth every minute of drive and every piece of tooth and nail that ever fell off me. Thank you, guys! You helped me finish a week on high note with 90 miles and mighty incredible time, what felt like a real vacation and a treat to cherish.