August was a whirlwind of a month; I’d been apprehensively peeking at my calendar the whole summer trying not to think too hard about how busy I’d be. Before I knew it, July ended and off we went, starting off by running the Cascade Lakes Relay the first weekend. I sent my 11-year-old son off on a solo flight to his grandparents’ house the day before my husband and I left on our 216-mile running adventure, leaving our 4-year-old and dog at home with my mom.
We got home, I did laundry and packed, and then left the next day for a two-week monster road trip with my mom and kids stretching across Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Washington.
We stayed a night in eastern Oregon to visit with family and old friends, picked up my son there, then headed on to Utah to visit with my sisters and their kids. From there, it was on to Montana to see more family, and then home.
Well, home for one day; just enough time to do laundry and pack for a four-day camping trip to central Oregon to watch the solar eclipse on the line of totality. In the middle of this fantastic camping trip adventure with friends, my back waved the white flag and refused to work anymore after over 2000 miles of driving and sleeping on strange beds and air mattresses.
I ended up at the chiropractor four times the last week of the month and had to cancel the backpacking trip my son and I were scheduled to do the final weekend of the August.
I knew going in that I would run on vacation, but running was not the priority; as a result my longest run of the month was only 13 miles. However, the runventures I had as I got up early and ran wherever I happened to be staying before my family awoke were a total blast. Some highlights?
An early morning run along the Grande Ronde River in eastern Oregon where I saw three elk, two deer, and blew the most perfect snot rocket of my life. In Utah, I ended up at a Planet Fitness for two days running on a treadmill and lifting weights before exploring my sister’s neighborhood more.
I followed the signs to Providence and Logan Canyon and discovered some sweet single-track trails, climbing over 1700′ in 5 miles before turning around and enjoying some fast downhill trail miles. After that I explored the suburbs and headed into town and ran around a Mormon temple perched on top of a hill.
In Montana, mind you I was in a giant valley and not in the mountains for epic trail runs, I got to run on a lovely and totally empty bike path to the headwaters of the Missouri River. I ran 12 miles one day on what I dubbed “The Loneliest Bike Path in America” and explored the back highways around the tiny town of Three Forks on several other days, enough times to watch the carcass of a three-legged cat hit by a car slowly decompose.
For our eclipse camping trip, we stayed on a 600-acre ranch owned by my running dad Lonn and his family outside of Madras, Oregon. The land was once part of the Rajneeshee cult/land and I got to run past their old tent sites while finding geodes, chunks of jasper and banded agates.
For the actual eclipse, we hiked to the top of a 4000′ elevation butte, with a 360° view of the horizon, the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Mountains visible from Mt. Rainier in Washington to Diamond Peak in southern Oregon.
We watched the darkness approach across the desert as the sun grew smaller & smaller through our glasses. The temperature steadily dropped & a cool wind increased. When just a sliver of sun remained, the light went a sort of silver & our shadows became the sharpest I’ve ever seen, like they were cut with a laser.
The sun disappeared in our glasses & we took them off … what the sun looked like was unbelievable. A giant black hole in the sky ringed with pale platinum flames. Stars began to appear as we gasped & cried out, tears came in wonder for many of us.
We could see a ring of light all around the horizon, the mountain tops lit up in fiery sunset colors while the air around us felt electric. Totality was 100% different than even 99%- completely unworldly & we all felt part of something we couldn’t believe was actually happening. A true lifetime high.
Finally, back home I met up with some running friends and got to run my longest run of the month while catching up on how everyone’s training was going.
I am an assistant coach for the high school XC team and started attending practice and running with the kids a bit, too, the last few days of the month. I’m looking forward to a fun season as I get to know this great group of kids.
August total: 210 miles– I ran every day of my roadtrip, took three days off due to my back, kept up on my core workouts, got to run at elevation for over two weeks, and had a blast on various trails and mountains. Now, however, I am ready to get back to my regularly scheduled program.