Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweet Agony

Every runner knows that there’s a certain emotional ebb & flow associated with the  experience of running. Runners “Highs” and “Lows” are just part of the give & take nature of the beast. Whether it’s the supreme joy of suddenly (and effortlessly) running your daily 6 mile loop a minute faster than you’ve ever run it before, or the slow (but oh-so-sure) death of bonking hard halfway through your Sunday 12 miler, the peaks & valleys of a run are what we’ve grown to love (and also hate) about our sport. And never are these ups & downs more dramatic than when a “run” becomes a “race”.

Such was the case for me Before, During, AND After this year’s Bear Brook Trail Marathon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Racing Mountains

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the mountains. I’ve been run/hiking the New Hampshire 4000 footers as part of my Summer of 48 - AND - I’ve been doing some racing as part of the Western Mass Athletic Club’s Grand TreeAnd, while these two endevours are somewhat related (lots of ups and downs) they really are two vastly different kinds of efforts.

Run/Hiking 25-30 miles in the span of 10 hours is all about endurance. You must make sure you stay well below the “red-line” in terms of pace if you want to have enough energy to make it all the way to the end. You’re pushing yourself, obviously! But if you’ve become used to spending that kind of time on your feet, it’s not too terribly tough to move at 2½ to 3 miles per hour.

Racing 7-14 miles in the span of 1-2 hours is a completely different animal. The biggest difference is that you have some company - fellow racers that you are trying like mad to beat to the finish line. Therefore, you are pretty much on the “red-line” for the entire event. Mountain racing isn’t done at the same breakneck speeds (at least for me) as road racing, but you’re still moving twice as fast (per hour) as run/hiking. The good news is, after 2 hours, it’s usually over.

The last three mountain races I’ve done are: The Greylock Half Marathon, The Blue Hills 12k and The Cranmore Hill Climb. Each one was very different from the next and each had VERY different results ...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting High

(With a Little Help from My Friends) 

This past weekend was Stage Two of my Summer of 48 hiking extravaganza. I was particularly excited (and nervous) about this 3-day trip because of its increased degree of difficulty over what I’d done on Stage One. This time around I would be “bagging” 22 of the 48 four thousand foot peaks (nearly half!) including ALL the higher summits along the Presidential Ridge. It would be quite an undertaking, to be sure, but I felt confident, based on my results last time out, that I could pull it off. Plus, I’d be spending one of the three days hiking with some friends. What could be better than that!