What’s Next

mountain

If you have followed my posts at all in the last few months, you know that I am rediscovering my love for the mountains.  This Dr. Seuss statement could not be more true.  The mountains represent so much more to me than just a spectacular view of the world… they define my world.  Here is why:

1) They make you put in the hard work:  Whether hiking or running, they demand you put in the effort.  You need to sweat and push to make it to the top.  You may say you hate it while working on some of the trickier climbs, but that is all forgotten once you hit the summit and reap the reward of your hard work.

2) They feel like freedom:  As a person who is constantly on the go, juggling so many aspects of life, work and business, the mountains make me stop for a moment and appreciate my freedom… both my physical and metaphorical freedom.

3) There is no end to where they can take you:  Seriously, I can start with the 48 4Ks in NH but the list is really endless.  And once I do those, I want to RUN those!

4) They make you strong:  They are the sole reason why I won’t ever follow a training plan that is exclusively road running.  Why run the road when I can run up and down a mountain?  Why run on pavement when in less than 8 hours I can achieve over 4,000 ft. in elevation changes and literally barrel down a mountain depending on my quads (I love you quads!!!) and my core?  Yes, it isn’t for eveyone, but this kid is IN LOVE with the feeling of inhaling the air and pushing my body to the brink.

5) They make me think deeply:  My mother once told me my great-grandmother referred to me as a “deep child.”  I was very young when she made that observation.  I get what that means.  I have always been in my head.  Something is always brewing in me.  I refer to it as my “monster.”  Sometimes the monster stirs and needs to be settled down.  Mountains, mountain running, climbing = prozac for the monster.  I have been lucky in my nearly 35 years to not have needed medication to quell the monster.  Horses, running and mountains have been a wonderful alternative to medication and therapy.  I don’t think I am that f*%ked, but I have made a career of dealing with other people’s problems and have always been a “fixer” including in my marriage.  At times, “fixing” gets incredibly overwhelming and out comes the monster.  So I run.  And climb.  And love the sense of peace that is restored in me every time I push myself physically… and with that comes mental peace.

All that being said, here is where my next year will hopefully take me….

mehancock

Mt. Hancock (North Peak)

For starters, I will continue to tackle the peaks.  I plan on running as many as I can in the next few years.  What I can’t run, I will hike.  This photo is from Mt. Hancock a few weeks ago.  Tony and I knocked out the nine mile, 4K “run” in 4:20.  That was about half the time he once hiked it in.

I will also train to complete my first and second 50K.  This goal had been on the plan for 2012 but injury (hamstring, rectus sheath hematoma) and illness (bronchitis and whooping cough) knocked me out of training for nearly four months.  2014 should be the year for Pineland 50k (May) and VT 50k (September).

Complete the Pemi Loop.  This is a HUGE goal.  Tony and I have started plotting how to make this happen.  In order to run it, we will need a crew to meet us “half way” to restock supplies.  The typical time for this loop is 20 hours.  To say we want to do it way under that time is ambitious… but I am game.  We may do a power hike of it in June, staying overnight at a hut, then attempt the run in August.

My racing will be kept to a bare minimum next year, replaced by hikes and runs.  I want to get deep into the roots of what makes me happy and get as strong as I can… and the goal is to stay happy and healthy.  For the immediate few months, I rest.  I start back to the gym and get some core work done.  I run light.  And I dedicate to heart rate monitor training with my fancy Garmin 310XT.  Now is the time to focus on the foundation that will run me through the rest of my life….  

Loving the mountains...

Loving the mountains…

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