I've had a couple of great weekends. I'm so glad that it is finally spring and I can enjoy the beautiful outdoors again.
It has been over a week since our vacation came to an end, but we topped off our last days with a road trip to Bozeman for the day. We have been there quite a bit lately because when we found Backcountry Burger it became one of our favorite places to eat. Nevermind that it is almost 2 hours away. The Pub Poutine and Garlic Aoli are totally worth the trip!
Of course, you can't make a trip like that and only go for food so we also went for a hike on the M Trail. We've never done that trail in all the times we've been to Bozeman, but since it is the end of the Bridger Ridge Run, we decided to check it out. The route we took was pretty steep. We gained 1,030 feet in one mile.
The views from this trail are definitely worth the climb and the weather was perfect - just cloudy enough to keep it cool.
Mitch took the steep trail back down and I opted to take the longer, less steep route back to the trailhead. I loved it! Most of it was a perfect grade for a downhill run. I wasn't really dressed for running but I did it anyway. The worst part was the lack of a sports bra.
I went back to work on Monday to 1100 emails, which I was mostly able to ignore and file because I had someone that really took care of stuff while I was out for 7 working days. I also had a big presentation to put together for seven clients so my work week went by in a blur. It helped that I was only back through Thursday because we had another race the next weekend.
I started running because of the Montana Women's Run - a 2 or 5 mile event in downtown Billings that attracts around 8,000 women every Mother's Day weekend. When I started training for the 5 mile, that is when I got the running bug and the rest is history. I love the Women's Run, but 3 years ago I thought I would do something different and go to Helena for the Don't Fence Me In trail run. That year, I signed up for the 12K and Mitch did it with me (not something he would have done for the Women's Run). Helena trails are amazing and I loved it so much that I have gone back the two years following to do the 30K (Mitch too!).
Because we literally JUST got back from our trip to Vegas, we planned to stay in the least expensive hotel we could find. This hotel is downtown, less than a mile from the park where the race start is and the entire Helena downtown street mall is between the hotel and the start. The room was small, they used standard keys (don't lose that!) and the old building made so much noise that we though there was a prostitute upstairs. Turned out it was the plumbing! But the room was adequate, the bed was comfortable and we loved being that close to town. Once we parked at the hotel we didn't use the car again until we went home.
I forgot my gaiters so we stopped at Tread Lightly which is Helena's running store. I was really sad to see that they are closing their doors. I found my favorite brand of gaiters there - Dirty Girls are the best and Mitch found this hat that matched them. It is now my favorite hat. I've never liked visors but Headsweats makes the most comfortable visor I've ever worn. This is going to get a ton of miles.
Packet pickup was at Blackfoot Brewing. One of my favorite beers is released for this running event so I was excited. See my awesome Dirty Girls in the picture? Flat Angie.
I wish we had trails in Billings like they have in Helena. Since we don't, I really wish Helena was closer than 4 hours away. Don't Fence Me In trail run covers some amazing trails.
We dropped out of this race at 11.5 miles. We had just hit the aid station with 10 minutes to spare before the cut-off and we could have continued, but I just didn't have it in me to carry on for the last 7 miles. The biggest climb was still ahead, as well as a very steep downhill to the finish. I could have finished. I know I could have pulled the strength to do it, but I also knew that I was tired. Two weeks out from our marathon and only 10 days from when I was able to walk after that. It was okay to stop and I knew that if we had kept running, it would have been mostly walking and we would get to the finish line after most of it was gone anyway. I HATE to get a DNF. DNF = Did Not Finish. But I'm still not mad that I called it a day.
We had plenty of fun the rest of the day. Once we got a ride back to the finish, we went to lunch and met up with a couple of friends from Billings Area Trail Runners back at Blackfoot Brewing.
We also enjoyed walking the street mall. The Merchantile has some of the best coffee I've every tasted. This pic is shots of espresso with cream and honey. Delicious!
We got almost as many miles that day as we would have if we had finished the race and I still had a great day.
On Sunday, we went for a hike up Mount Helena which is part of the race that we missed. We took the 1906 trail up - 1,140 feet ascent and then down the Powerline Trail because Mitch likes the steep stuff.
Mitch is up to his usual shenanigans at the summit of Mount Helena. Always going for the photo bomb.
What's next? We are heading back to Helena to run Moonlight on Mount Ascension - 12 hours of overnight running. Last year we got 30.5 miles officially so we will shoot for an extra loop for a better finish. We have 38 days.
PS We should find out if we got in to Bridger Ridger on May 19th. Cross your fingers for us. Mostly for Mitch. He wants it more than I do. LOL!
See you this weekend!