I was hoping for a long run on trails this weekend and without doing loops in the same section that is hard to do in Billings. We also don't really have trails that are good to train on for our big runs this year like Moonlight on Mt Ascension and The Rut. Except for Phipps Park, there aren't many hills and none of the hills are very long. Red Lodge is our closest option but they got a foot of snow in the lower elevations earlier last week. It's too early to enjoy trails there yet so we decided to see if we could find anything in Bozeman since we knew that at least the M Trail was clear.
Mitch settled on Sypes Canyon which is in the lower foothills of the Bridger Mountains and we could run to the M Trail if we wanted. Spoiler...we didn't.
It was a gorgeous day. I think the temps were somewhere in the low 60's, but it was humid and felt a little too warm. The start of this run was so much harder than I expected. Don't get me wrong.... one should expect to struggle on an uphill climb but I hadn't taken in to account that I had donated blood a couple of days before.
This sign is such a good reminder. This is about 3.5 miles (and 1500 feet) up the trail at the junction where we could have chosen to go toward the M Trail, down the other way to Cottonwood or up the hill further toward Mount Baldy.
We chose "up the hill" to Mount Baldy because why not add a few hundred feet more of elevation.
The pictures below are on a fairly steep climb but the camera never seems to capture that.
We could tell that it rained much harder on the rest of the trail than where we were because the trail was so much more saturated on the way down.
Mitch took this great puddle shot. Note: For the most part I tried to jump over the puddles to minimize damage. I ran through just this one for the sake of the picture and it was on part of the trail that was degraded sandstone and not as susceptible to footprints.
Running back down the hill was so much fun. Most of it was a nice grade that you could do a comfortable speed and just technical enough to keep your mind occupied.
We ended up with 8.3 miles which was less than I was hoping for but with the 2200 feet of climbing and plenty of stopping to talk to other hikers/runners, those 8 miles took over 3 hours. We had a contest to see who collected the most mud. Mitch won even though he had washed off his legs at one of the creek crossings about a half mile from the finish.
We are both wearing Dirty Girl gaiters. Everyone that runs trails should have a pair of these. They do an awesome job of keeping the debris out of your shoes and they come in such fun designs. I would be a product ambassador for them if I could figure out how. They are one of my top favorite gear for trail running.
Because the last little section was thick, stick-to-your-shoes mud we had to stand in the irrigation ditch by the car to get the mud out of the tread on our shoes. This meant we went to lunch, walked around Bozeman and drove all the way home with wet feet. Note to self: always bring back up shoes and socks.
Last week a friend of mine had her last day at the place I work. I went down to say good luck and as always we got on the topic of running. She often comments on how great it is that my husband runs with me. She says, "You have a built in running buddy." She's right and I think it is long over due for a public thank you.
If not for Mitch, I know I would not train in the epic places I get to go. Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not. He does much of the route planning when we go out of town, always drives and is a constant companion and friend on our journeys.
Thank you, Mitch for being my running buddy and blog camera man. Without you my blog wouldn't have as many great pictures, nor would the pictures be from such beautiful places. Thank you for being my cheerleader, support crew and even my companion at countless races and training runs. Thank you for taking me pretty much everywhere I want to go and for making it fun when we get there. Thank you for sitting in breweries in every town even though you don't drink beer. Thank you for being there in places that are just a bit scary and for always being willing to carry the bear spray and run in front. Thank you for always encouraging me even when I'm feeling down about myself. You have been the best friend and running buddy a girl could ask for. I love you and if the world didn't know it before, they do now.