Monday, September 16, 2013

The Angry Bee

I don’t know if it was the ending of the summer, or the early-onset darkness, or the near-doubling of my commute time.  Perhaps it was the Florida-like humidity, or the concrete collecting in my legs, or my bewildering inability to find sleep.  Maybe it was a feeling of post-partum after the completion of my Summer of 48, or the embarrassment of yet another speed workout gone wrong, or the realization that my Sub-3 hour goal for Baystate seems more and more out of reach every day.

Whatever the reason, there’s just no denying that, last week, I was one cranky bastard.

In my heart, I know I have absolutely no reason to be angry.  I have had a great year so far – both in and out of running.  My two older children are thriving in college and seem to have things well under control.  My two younger children amaze me every day with how much they’ve grown and we enjoyed a fun (albeit busy) summer together.  I accomplished a huge goal by running up NH’s 48 tallest peaks – in 7 days.  And I’ve been able to race whenever, and wherever, I want.

So, what’s my problem?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tripping Through the Whites

Back in June, I outlined my Grand Plan to climb all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000 foot peaks in a span of 6 days. I had aggressively (and wrongly) assumed I could run/hike over 33 miles a day (with 3 of those days at around 37 miles) and still enjoy myself. Then I started my trip. And all it took was one 37 mile, 8 summit, 13 1/2 hour day for me to quickly change my tune.  For some reason,  the 30 mile mark was just about the point where it stopped being fun.

So, after Day 1, I re-shuffled the deck. I extended the trip from 6 days to 7 ½ and lowered my average daily mileage down to 30. The big change included taking Owl’s Head and Isolation out of the Pemi & Presi traverses. And, I set them both up as “stand alone” events. This did increase my overall mileage from around 200 to over 225. But, it made both traverses a heck of a lot easier and the summit attempts of Owl’s and Iso a heck of a lot more fun!

Below is a brief trip report of each of my 7 ½ days on the trail - with notes and totals from each day. I also did more detailed trip reports for the Cabot and the Pemi portions - if you have some more time to kill. And for the truly OCD, a fully detailed spreadsheet of the entire endeavor (including start times, trails, distances, splits, elevations, etc.) can be found HERE.

Also, photos from each of my trips can be found here: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3.

I had an awesome time running around in the woods this summer and I feel so blessed to have had a chance to do so! I learned quite a few things that I can use going forward as I continue to explore the wonderful world of endurance running, namely: Navigation, Pacing, Refueling and Recovery. But, most of all, I learned a lot about myself. A few of those things (48 to be exact) are shared HERE.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Summer of 48 - Complete

For easier viewing, click on the image, then right click and select "View Image". This will allow you to zoom in and read all the small print.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

48 Things

48 things learned while hiking New Hampshire’s 48 highest peaks:

  1. Don’t forget to look up every once in a while.
  2. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. Or …
  3. Bring a water filter. Unfortunately, I did neither.
  4. Don’t hike alone. It’s more fun with friends. Or …
  5. If you do hike alone, don’t tell your wife.
  6. Read the AMC guide. I didn’t because it scared me.
  7. I like single track. Well-pruned single track.
  8. I don’t like low, pointy, angry branches.
  9. I also don’t like clearing cobwebs with my face.
  10. Make a point of volunteering on a trail building crew.
  11. AMC Hut Croo are seriously awesome people.
  12. Views are great, but never guaranteed.
  13. Always have a Plan-B. And, a Plan-C. And …
  14. Never trust the local weather forecast.
  15. Ridgelines know no seasons.
  16. It never ALWAYS gets worse.
  17. Never underestimate the power of a hot shower.
  18. Or, the comfort of real food, for that matter.
  19. Know your animal scat. And …
  20. Keep yours at least 200 ft. from a water source.
  21. Don’t throw your pack across a river. It will break.
  22. Wait for a thunderstorm to pass before climbing.
  23. The mountain will always be there. Unlike you.
  24. No 4000 footer ever gives up her elevation easily.
  25. The best trail-ends are ones with cold rivers to sit in.
  26. Fear of missing a shuttle ride is a great motivator.
  27. Chaffing can ruin an otherwise great day.
  28. Bike shorts can be your best friend. Seriously.
  29. Keep your camera battery fully charged.
  30. Mount Clay (5333 ft) should be part of the 4k club.
  31. All mountains should come with fire towers.
  32. Able Crawford was a trail building genius.
  33. Hiking up out of notches is very hard work. And …
  34. Hiking down into notches can be quite terrifying.
  35. Mount Moosilauke is extremely underrated.
  36. Mount Washington is extremely overrated.
  37. Never turn your back on a mountain. It may bite.
  38. Wet rocks are vengeful rocks. In disguise.
  39. Don’t think too far ahead. You’ll fall on your behind.
  40. Leave bushwacking to the professionals.
  41. Tim Seaver is an absolute trail-running stud.
  42. It’s possible to be nauseous and hungry at the same time.
  43. It’s even possible to become sick of yourself.
  44. Be kind to your fellow hikers while out on the trail.
  45. It may hurt to walk but it doesn’t hurt to smile.
  46. Even the best solo hikers can’t do it all on their own.
  47. If something doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing.
  48. Plan the next trip now. True regret is the path not taken.

Happy Trails!