Run, Climb, Fly, Move – July/August Update

Woah! Its been busy lately. Crazy to realize it’s almost September and summer is almost over.

I’ve been mostly on vacation the past month, which has been awesome. Harbingers is in the hands of my beta readers, so I had a chance to relax and take a break from writing.

Early August, I blogged about Mexico, but so much more happened.

When we first got to Bozeman, Sarah discovered the Bridger Ridge Run race and decided she wanted to do it. Its 19.65 miles, with 7,000′ of gain and 9,000′ of loss, and much of the running above 10,000′ in elevation. I’m always up for a challenge, so I decided to join in. Unfortunately, at that time, we’d already missed the lottery cutoff date for the race, so we decided to do it on our own. We trained as hard as we could for the few months we had, and planned to do our run the same week as the race.

I’ve never been much of a runner. For me, running has mostly been a way to train cardio for climbing, rather than a pursuit on its own. Sarah, by contrast, was a collegiate track athlete.

Ross Pass. Just before half way.

The ridge is so beautiful, and it was really great to be moving quickly over so much ground. I felt good during the beginning of the run, but by the last 5 miles, I was hurting (well beyond the “good” pain). Thankfully, Sarah was still going strong and I was able to keep chasing her.

Most of the trail wasn’t this smooth and easy.

On the last mile, I was growling and gritting my teeth. My brain had long since divorced itself from my body, giving it over to the suffering. Downhill pounding is definitely a knee killer and was our least favorite part. Once we arrived back at the car, I was wrecked. I laid on a picnic table and tried not to puke. I was definitely in an altered state, oblivious to the world around me. In retrospect, I very much enjoyed that experience.

Eventually, I was able to move again and Sarah drove us home. Our time, 8:24:42, would have put us in 249 out of 254, if we’d have been in the actual race. Not a stellar, especially considering the top runners do it in almost half the time, but I’m proud to have finished, especially since I’m relatively new to “real running. I think Sarah could have gone faster if she hadn’t have been waiting for me. We are planning on doing it again next year…

After a weeks worth of rest, both sedentary and active, we were ready for our next adventure. Our big climbing goal is the Grand Traverse in Grand Teton National Park. It’s a complicated undertaking, one that is currently beyond our abilities. One thing that is nice about it, however, is that you can do it in chunks, then put the whole thing together at a later time. As part of our training, we decided to do the first peak in the traverse, Teewinot, via the East Face.

Teewinot is just right of center, rightmost of the main group of mountains.

While not a technically demanding route, it does require quite a bit of elevation gain and routefinding. The climbing/scrambling was well within our abilities and we never felt the need to rope up, which did help us move quicker. We were both still tired from the ridge run, so our time overall wasn’t great. After getting off route a couple times, we did eventually find the most efficient path up. When we go back next summer for the Cathedral Traverse (first half of the Grand Traverse), we’ll be able to do Teewinot in the dark. Our mission was accomplished.

Down climbing after getting off route… again. 🙂

It also wouldn’t be a trip to the Tetons if we didn’t see a bear. As we were trudging back to the trail head, just a quarter mile out, we saw 3 bears. One was a grizzly, walking towards us on the trail. Thankfully s/he decided to go around, rather than through us, but it was a tense few moments.

Summit of Teewinot, with Grand Teton in the background.

After the Tetons, we drove out to Kansas. Sarah needed to do her bi-annual flight review to maintain her pilots license, and that was a good time to pick up the few things we still had in storage at her parents house from our time living on the road. We had a good week there and Sarah was able to fly quite a bit.

Sarah and her grandpa getting ready for her review.
I love it when she takes me flying!

We had a great time visiting with family and friends and then drove back to Bozeman. Thankfully, Sarah’s new hospital paid for our moving expenses, which allowed us to rent a moving truck (we didn’t even fill up the smallest one) and tow our car.

We even got a sci-fi themed U-Haul. Made my day.

Now we are back at home, all moved in, and contemplating living in one place for awhile. It’s taking some adjustment, but change is a good thing. 🙂

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