A friend recently told me that I have mastered work-life balance. Sadly, I had to tell her that she was mistaken. For most of 2014, my spouse and I had incredibly boring jobs. Getting through the hours of the workday could be painful, but we had plenty of time to plan and execute adventures in the mountains. The boring jobs are now behind us, but I plan to take the gear, organization, and lessons learned into 2015.
January – The weather in Owyhee Canyonlands is unpredictable, yet there are enough crazy runners in the Boise area to support the Wilson’s Creek Trail Races. Weather in 2014 was promising, so I signed up for the 20 miler. Starting before sunrise in an extremely dense fog, then climbing above it and into the sunshine, was spectacular.
I’m going to cheat and share 2 photos from my favorite annual January event – the Stanley Outdoor Bonspiel (S.O.B). What the hell is a bonspiel? A curling tournament. Although bonspiels originated as outdoor events in Scotland, very little outdoor curling exist today. Stanley, year round population of 69, is located at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. It’s f’ing cold out there, but the backdrop, drinking, and camaraderie of the curlers make it a great weekend. Thanks to Kathy & Kelly for letting me know that I made the front page of the newspaper!
February – I don’t remember anything too crazy in February. The Boise Curling Club started the winter curling season. There was a run to Wilson’s Peak, the same place as the race mentioned in January. There was no fog or snow, but we did startle a group of wild horses.
March – We went to Utah and saw Jeanni, Jenny, Adele, and Ali! I don’t downhill ski, so John and I attempted to skate ski for the 3rd time. I missed that trip to the Habit, but did stop at In N Out on the way back to Idaho. No pictures.
April – Spring running in Boise can be a bit frustrating. There is a lot of user traffic and it’s highly encouraged to stay off the local trail network when it’s muddy. (I strongly support this.) John, Abbie and I went out to the Little Jacks Creek Wilderness in the Owyhees. Although our guide book claimed it was “Subaru doable”, the drive was painful. We covered 3 miles in an hour due to the rock and rut dodging. The weather went from blue skies to pounding hail and back to blue skies in 30 minutes. Typical mountain/canyonland weather!
May – My parents came to Boise to help with yard work, enabling me to spend more time doing fun things on other weekends. They are endurance yard work athletes. They are awesome.
This month was also the start and end of a lot of trail running. Due to a new pair of shoes, I developed severe planar fascitis. Because I am a moron, I changed shoes and kept training for a 60k. Picture below is from one of the runs where I told myself “but it loosens up after I climb several thousand feet.” Idiot. I’m pretty sure this is also the month Jeanni came to visit. Due to my prolonged injury denial, I couldn’t take her on any of my favorite runs. Walking around work was horribly painful.
June – I asked the Scout Mountain RD to move me from the 60k into the 35k. The course was surprisingly pretty, but it was one of my worst races. John had a more successful 60k. After the race I stopped running for 6 weeks, joined the Y, and started pool running.
During my time off, I worked Fanny’s Hole. (Tee hee.) 2014 was the inaugural year of the River of No Return 100k in Challis, Idaho. We learned an important lesson at this aid station: do not leave sealed 2 liter bottles of Coke in the sun. One exploded, scared the shit out of everyone, and covered Abbie in Coke. They have changed the course in 2015 so I can no longer work Fanny unless I want to do it alone.
July – I really enjoyed the McCall 20 Miler in 2013, but I had to sit it out due to the damn foot. John took 4th in the 40 miler. My garden started to look like it might actually produce vegetables.
August – I started running again with the hope of completing a 50k by the end of the year. While John ran the Standhope 60k, Abbie and I went on our own mountain run. I love the Copper Basin and the idea of crossing 11,000ft passes, so I’d like to race Standhope in 2015. On another weekend we camped and ran in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. I am in love with that single track!! I had to turn around a bit earlier than John, but I’ll steal one of his photos anyway.
September – John and I were both signed up for The Rut 50k at Big Sky, MT but I wasn’t able to race. The race is kind enough to let you defer a year. The cutoff was brutal, eliminating a third of the field. John wasn’t ready for the loose rock and scree, but he finished respectably for a guy who lives a couple of hours from serious mountains. This was his 4th ultra in 4 months – all happily finished and uninjured!!! I do have a nice photo of Kilian Jornet at the finish. I recently received an entry confirmation for the 2015 Rut and I’m a bit terrified.
We also volunteered for an overnight aid station at the IMTUF 100 in McCall, ID. This was our first time volunteering at a 100 miler. John is interested in doing a 100 miler in the next year or two, so this was a great learning experience.
October – The fall curling season started!! Due to more driving drama getting into the IMTUF aid station, the Impreza was traded in for a used Tacoma. The next day we took the Tacoma into the Oregon Owyhees for a trail run. My inner environmentalist feels terrible driving a V6 4×4, but wow, it’s freeing to have high clearance! Desert canyonlands are not for everyone, but as Midwesterner, I find the desolate expanses intriguing.
For contrasting terrain, I visited Jeanni in Utah and she took me on a beautiful run in the Wasatch. Pictures were taken, but I have no idea where they are.
November – My ego wanted to run at least one ultra in 2014. I found the Silver Falls 50k in Oregon as the last ultra of the year within driving distance (9 hours). It was a nice bonus that the race has dog-friendly camping and beautiful scenery. The forested course has 10 waterfalls and racers run directly behind 2 of the falls. Due to plantar fascitis, my training was marginal, but I was prepared to go slow. It was a fun and successful 50k. This was also our 9th camping trip of 2014. I used to snub car camping, but sleeping on a thick pad and waking up to crepes, sausage, and multiple cups of coffee is awesome.
December – I have not enjoyed learning to downhill ski as an adult, but a few skate skiing trips in 2013 were challenging and fun. John and I bought skate equipment and we are committed learning. It doesn’t hurt that we live only a few hours from “Nordic Town, USA” and I love the being in the Sawtooths. We managed to get two yurt reservations there. We also started skiing the trails 30 minutes north of our house in Boise. There are several pics from December that I’d like to include, but I’ll finish with a cheesy selfie.