Solo Miles = Soul Searching

image5-4

A view from North Mountain

This post is predominately going to focus on my Saturday long run (I’ll make sure I throw in a quick training recap for documentation purposes!) and how that went.  This was the second week of a double day on Thursday.  It also snowed like a bitch, which meant plowing, snow clean up and lack of time for workouts.  I got it done, and despite my exhaustion, I feel great!

  • Total Miles: 24.3
  • Total Elevation: 2621
  • Total strength workouts: 2

This was my biggest week since August 22, 2016!!!!

It (unfortunately) worked out that all my runs were solo this week.  My Wednesday running partner is sick and Tony is even sicker.  Tony missed my hill workout on Friday and wasn’t able to even leave his house for my Saturday long run.  Coach modified my weekend because I taught yesterday (which typically amounts to 4 miles of walking… not a joke… on the range) and had me go a half hour to an hour longer on Saturday.  To get the best bang for my buck and decided to tackle Pawtuckaway.  Before I did that, I volunteered for two hours at the Acidotic Racing Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo .  I joined Acidotic last summer and was eager to do some volunteer time!  I used to run horse shows and trail races are a similar environment (minus the horses whinnying and people screaming “loose horse!”).  Otherwise, it’s basically the same :).  I had fun hanging out with teammates and meeting new people and took off just as the race was starting.  I had time on legs calling me!  I should mention I decided not to race this weekend because I wanted to focus on quality training time.

image1-15

I arrived at Pawtuckaway around 11:30 and was ready to hit the trail around noon.  My plan was to do an aggressive 11.7 mile loop over South and North Mountains.  The entire run gained me 1700 ft. in elevation and I expected to have to break some trail.  “Some” trail was an understatement!  In order to have all the gear I would need, there was no way around breaking out my Ultimate Direction Fastpack (30).  I bought this pack over two years ago and it has many miles on it.  I threw my Dion snowshoes, a few articles of clothing, my first aid kit, 40 oz. of water and food into my pack and threw it on.  Woof.  Weight training!  The weather was gorgeous and I erred in the pants I was wearing.  I could have gone with a much lighter weight tight.  I sweat most of the time I was out there.  I wore my Altra Lone Peak Neoshells (for the win… again) and started out in my Kahtoola microspikes knowing I would probably be alright and on groomed snowmobile trail or monorail until the summit of South Mountain.  I was right and made great time to the summit and got there in 43 minutes.

image2-12

The real fun began on the backside of South Mountain.  The trail was not broken as I suspected.  I swapped the microspikes for the Dions and proceeded towards North Mountain.  The snow was turning into mushy mashed potatoes quickly and I had to kick ice balls off the spikes along the way.  Most of the way off South, I came across a guy in his 20s coming the other way.  He was wearing a t-shirt, a full sized hiking pack and snow pants.  He was soaked and leaning on a tree.  He had postholed about a mile (I figured this out along the way).  I said to him “this is a lot easier in snowshoes” and he responded with “I can’t believe I made it this far.”  Postholers drive me nuts because there is no good way to “fix” the trail on snowshoes and I had to walk along his trail for the next mile or so.  He was sinking into the snow at least 12″ with each step!!!  I realize gear is pricey, but I don’t understand why you would even TRY this without a cheap pair of snowshoes.

image4-8

I was in good spirits once I got to the trailhead for North Mountain despite a lot of trail breaking.  I was fueling well, it was sunny and I was so happy to be out in the woods.  I didn’t see many people and could no longer hear the hoards of snowmobilers.  I was also excited to see someone else had broken out North Mountain.  The trek was still hard but the going was better than it would have been!  I summitted North, took in the views and a snack then shuffled my way across the mile long ridge trail.  I stayed in snowshoes and ran when I could.  I was tired but my legs were still moving well.  I swapped out my Dions for spikes and ran the next two miles along the snowmobile trails… occasionally suffering from air pollution as the sleds came by me.  Two miles on mushy snowmobile trails was no joke!  The only “low” point I had came at 8.7 miles and the start of the Mountain Trail.  Guess what wasn’t broken out?  Back to Dions and into the trail I went.  Holy crap was the next .6 miles HARD!  The snow was wet and heavy and I was SOAKED.

I got back to the trail junction where it switches back to packed monorail and collapsed to take my Dions off.  Here is where I pulled a stunt unique to me… I took off my snowshoes, which were all chunked up with ice.  I started to smack them together to break the ice off so they could go back into my Fastpack when my thumb took a direct hit from one of the spikes.  I tore open a sizable flap in my cuticle and started to gush blood everywhere!  I honestly figured it was worse than it was because it was flowing freely.  Oh crap.  I started to rip (one handed) into my pack and found my Dark Angel Medical Ouch Pouch.  I eventually managed to get out the supplies I needed to wrap my thumb and get it back into the glove. A quick note on Dark Angel Medical… Kerry Davis is a co-worker and friend and I adore his products.  I carry his Pocket D.A.R.K Trauma Kit for hikes in the Whites and his D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit on the range and in my purse.  His company has had many saves and while my thumb injury was minor, I am happy to carry his gear wherever I go.  Check it out!!!

image3-12

At this point, I was running a little behind my schedule which motivated me to hustle out of the woods.  I left most of what I had left on the trail and made it back to truck feeling like I put in a fantastic effort!  While I choose to do most of my long runs with company, doing to solo is like a tour inside your brain.  Sometimes it’s hard to comfortable with feelings, thoughts and troubles but I capitalize on solo time to relax and problem solve.  I ALWAYS feel mentally fresher (albeit tired) after a hard solo effort in the woods.

I am LOVING my training plan and time on legs.  I am loving working hard and waking up the next day ready to go again.  I am so thankful for access to great gear that makes it possible to train at this level.  Finally, I am thankful for my health and hope I can stay this way.  So many people around me have been taken out by serious illness this winter.

Thank you for tagging along and reading about my journey 🙂

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: