Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Altitude training in Montana

I'm in beautiful Butte, Montana! Home of Montana's first copper mine, the famous Berkeley Pit, and maybe even more famous, Evil Knievel.

This was a last-minute trip that I wasn't too keen on because I have a crazy family weekend coming up to get ready for and also because I'm missing a Jimmy Cliff concert at the zoo. Oh well, this is a good thing for me for work (build client relationships) and for running (new scenery, high(er) elevation).

I checked the USA Track & Field running database for routes in Butte and found one within a short distance of the Hampton Inn. The 4-mile route went along the Blacktail Creek Trail, out & back. I was a little hesitant about running an unfamiliar trail by myself but decided it would be just fine and it was, except that the elevation here is about 5480 ft, so I was hurting for some oxygen!

I took off from the hotel, sporting my new Bondi Band (photo taken while running so you can see the band in action). It fit well, more loose than the Sweaty Band, but it certainly held my hair in place and didn't slip. Another good purchase.

The Blacktail Creek Trail was a short distance from my hotel but on the way there, I managed to get harassed by some birds who must have thought I was running for their nest? It was kind of embarrassing shrieking down the sidewalk while being chased by two little sparrows. Bullies!

The trail itself was paved and ran along the Blacktail Creek and I-90. It was nice but nothing spectacular. It certainly beat running city streets, though. I liked the familiar smell of the Russian olive trees and sound of the red-winged black birds. Along the route, I passed several walkers and a couple joggers who were headed in the opposite direction. Close to the turn-around point, there was a nice wetland area & signs noting the designation of a bird sanctuary:

And then a sign showing all the trails in Butte. Next time I come, I'll have to do more trail investigating. I bet there are some really nice trails just outside of town, in the foothills.

Since I can't follow directions, I deviated from the nice route that "Rick" saved to the USAT&F database. Once I got to the turn-around point, I saw that the trail continued on, looping back (or so I thought) in basically the same direction only...only it wasn't back in the same direction and I ended up going out of my way. The return route was not nearly as scenic but I did meet a nice tourist from Winnepeg who also was out run-exploring. We chatted a bit about Seattle and Vancouver Island then we each went our own way. Isn't the running community sweet?

I was REALLY sucking wind as I headed back to the hotel. My mouth was so dry I couldn't even spit and I was light-headed. To add insult to injury, the over-protective sparrows chased me again as I intruded on their territory. My little adventure turned into a 4.9-mile jaunt in 42:26.

Anyway, it was a good run and if I don't get to my 800m intervals this week, I won't feel too bad because this certainly felt like a speed workout, only a tempo run. Now to figure out what I can grab for dinner...

[90 minutes later]

...Ok. So Kerrie's (momvsmarathon) SOWL challenge this week was to confess a bad food experience. Well, I think I just created one.

I was starved after this run, I'm alone, I'm tired, I don't know where to eat in Butte. I went to Safeway thinking I would get a deli salad or something. To my credit, that's what I usually get when I'm traveling alone because I don't like to deal with other people when I go out at night alone in small towns and I always seem to end up in small towns in these situations. I've learned from experience with drunken, obnoxious dudes interrupting my dinners, thinking they were being entertaining.

Well, nothing looked good at Safeway so I ended up getting one of those 20-oz beers, a local brew, Bitter Root Brewing Sawtooth Ale (which I had to open with my rental car key for lack of a bottle opener!). I still needed food. I think it could have been worse (I passed Dairy Queen two times), but I ended up at Arby's and got a fry + roast beef/swiss sandwich. I ate it all in about 30 seconds. With lots of ketchup. I wouldn't feel quite so bad about it if I hadn't had a Taco Bell 7-Layer burrito for lunch + ice tea (unsweetened) and nothing but a blueberry scone from the airport Starbucks for breakfast. Totally pathetic. I can hear the "tsk tsk" of every nutritionist right now. There was nothing of nutritional value in my diet today.

SO there you go, Kerrie. A food confession in the present.


  1. Fun to do runs in new places. And that altitude will get ya! Way to be brave!

  2. Cute Bondi Band. I have one although I don't wear it much.

    Fun adventure in a new running location. Nice job!

  3. Love the pic of the Bondi Band in action - very cool!
    Nice food confession. I think we've all had days like that while traveling. At least you had a good beer!

  4. I love running in new places! And I'm cracking up at your food story, I've done similar things. (Also, yes, I would love to meet up in Tacoma!)

  5. That's so awesome that you ran while away. Always cool to explore a new place on foot. And about your food confession, I've totally been there before.