Top Tips for Visiting Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (After Running the Mesa Falls Marathon)

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As I reported earlier this week, I recently completed the Mesa Falls Marathon in Idaho (no, you da ho).   But that was just the beginning of the fun.  The race was conveniently located near Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, so of course I had to check them out.  Especially because the National Park Service had just celebrated its centennial!  Woohoo!

I LOVED these parks and they each had unique vibes and attractions.  Here are some of my top tips for when to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in Yellowstone and GTNP.  Oh, and a few notes on things to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the summer.

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Mesa Falls Marathon 2016 (Marathon 18, State 13- Idaho)

Sorry for the delay!  I traveled around after the Mesa Falls Marathon (post on that travel to come!) and wasn’t able to do a write up right away.  But here it is!

Race:  20th Annual Mesa Falls Marathon

Location: Finish/packet pickup was in Ashton, Idaho, in eastern Idaho about 2 -2.5 hrs from the Jackson Hole, WY airport.  Note for sea-levelers: Ashton is 5,259 feet above sea level (and note, a week of easy running at a similar altitude is not sufficient acclimation).

Time of Year: End of August, on a Saturday. 

Weather:  Can vary, but for me it was wonderful — started in the high 40s at 6:30 am and ended in the low 70s, I think.  Temperature felt good the whole time running but a little cold standing at the start.

Number of Runners: 146

Other Races:  Half marathon, 10K, 5K, fun run.

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Quick Update: Training at Altitude Beginning Soon!

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Hi all,

I have been totally delinquent — too busy watching the Olympics (eventing!!!) to blog.  Oh, and running and hiking (Billy Goat, Old Rag) and sleeping and OTF-ing and reading some awesome books (Into Thin Air (read it twice in row…), How Bad Do You Want It, A Walk in the Woods) and listening to the Ultrarunner Podcast and watching awesome documentaries (Meru and Sherpa) and modern dancing and trying my darnedest to eat reasonably healthy.  Busy busy but mostly good stuff!  Training is going well for Mesa Falls, and Chicago is just around the corner so I am working on my A-race mentality and getting all the pieces in place to give myself the best shot at a PR/BQ.  Oh AND I entered the Big Sur lottery.  Slim odds, but as they say, if you don’t play you can’t win.  But the BIGGEST update…

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A Really Good Training Week

IMG_1660Given a crazy summer schedule, I am not planning on doing weekly training recaps for my Mesa Falls Marathon training.  HOWEVER, I had a shockingly spectacular — dare I say, breakthrough — training week last week, and so I wanted to share some of the changes I made to my training that worked for me.

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Planning My 2016 Race Schedule

First:  CONGRATS to everyone is who running/ran the Marine Corps Marathon today!  What a great race!  Hopefully it isn’t too wet out there today.  I saw folks picking up packets earlier this weekend and I got super jealous, but this morning I am cozied up in my home and sort of happy about it.

And now to the topic at hand: When possible, I don’t like to sign up for races too too far in advance, just in case something comes up and my plans need to change.  At the same time, I also don’t cut it so close that the race might fill up, and my plans are thwarted, or so close that I have the option of quitting the whole idea when I get to my 17-mile training run.  But even when I haven’t hit the “Register” button, I still need to map things out well in advance.  In fact, I have a nice little Google spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my races and states, completed and uncompleted.  Here is a snapshot:

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As you may be able to see, I have the columns sortable by state and month, so I can say “hmmm… let’s go to Indiana!  What’s there?” (No, really, that’s a question.  Any answers?)  Or I can say “February is looking open… let me choose a race then.”  I also include the city of the race because some of these states are damn big, and I might be excited to go to one corner but not the other.  And when the city doesn’t have an airport, but I’ll need to fly there, I include a reference to the appropriate airport.  Finally, I include a note if there is a lottery or qualification requirement for the race.  It doesn’t make sense to plan a whole marathon cycle around the New York City Marathon, especially if you forget to register for the lottery.

So now that 2015 is coming to a close, it is time to refer to my spreadsheet and really start thinking about 2016 and what races/states I’ll be tackling.

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