Mink Creek, that is. :)
Still soaking in the motivation that came after spending Sunday watching about 100 people, including my husband, run a marathon in scenic Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I decided to do my own awe-inspiring long run this morning.
I started at my house and took a route that followed roads up to a national forest area. It took me the first 8 or so miles to get through town (a rural area, but still "town") and start the main portion of my climb. I used a 5:1 run/walk ratio from the beginning. I wasn't sure quite how far I would go, but I knew I was going to try to go at least 15-17 miles, maybe more, depending on how I was feeling. My husband was home from work all day recovering from his marathon, and the kids were at school, so I told my husband I would call him when I was done running and he could just come and get me wherever I ended up.
My legs were already starting to feel tired by mile 10, but it was so peaceful and so beautiful out there on those empty roads, that I didn't want my time out there to end. I pushed through the mild cramping and pulling I was feeling in my calves and hamstrings, trying to get as far up the canyon as I could before turning around for a couple of miles of downhill and then calling it good. I made it to mile 15, then turned around and "cruised" down for a couple of fun miles. I saw my husband's vehicle approaching about the time I was almost at 17 miles and I motioned for him to take a few photos of me before I ended my run. So, thanks to my personal photographer, I have all of these lovely photos to share with you! :)
In the end, my total elevation gain was around 1900 feet. No wonder my legs were killing me when I was done! I also tried out my camel-back for the first time on a run. I've used it many times for hikes, but not for running. While I definitely love that it allows me to carry much more water (and anything else I might need) for a long run than my hydration belt, it was also much heavier. Once I was used to it, I actually didn't mind it much, but I do think it contributed to my slower than normal pace. I'm planning to start doing more long runs and also trail runs so I thought it would be a good idea to practice using it more often.