Sunday, February 22, 2009

30 Dark Miles


Something just didn't feel right about the Kancamagus run, so I altered the plans and moved the run to the Seacoast of New Hampshire, opting for a safer more feasible route. The participants are at such varying levels of fitness and readiness, myself included, that I felt like running the Kanc might not have been such a hot idea. That combined with a pending snowstorm looming on New England, I knew I was making the right decision for the group. In moving the run, we lost Tom Parent. Adam is dealing with ITBand issues so he needed to pull out. And Nate, who had pulled out of the Kanc Run previously, decided he would show up late to the new route and join us then. The new route is a 10 mile loop through the streets of Dover, Durham and Madbury New Hampshire. We parked our cars at a Store 24 which acted as the Start/Finish location and served us well. To start Loop 1 with me was Josh Robert, the kind soul who accompanied me for 50 miles on the Run Across New Hampshire, most of which then was at night. This was out first "run" together since then, and it was appropriate that this run would also take place at night, under frigid temps and an overcast sky.

Loop 1: Miles 0-10
At 9:12pm Josh and I took off from the car at a modest clip, catching up on how each other was doing as of late. The temp was around 27 degrees. Josh was heming and hawing a bit and experiencing a bit of heartburn from the dinner he shoveled down before showing up. We talk about school, relationships, life and where we thought the fountain of youth could be located. Not really, but it was great to have company on my usual training loop through town. It gave me a chance to act as tour guide while we fought the enormous amount of traffic still out on the roads. We ran down busy Stark road and through the big cemetery (spooky at night). On to Garrison and then Spur as we race adjacent to the Bellamy River towards where it empties into the Great Bay. As we got closer to the bay, we marveled at the warm breeze that came up off of the water and how warm it felt. We hopped onto route 4 and crossed the bay as cars whizzed by one by one. Its a busy night on the seacoast and we wondered how many drivers we drunk. We turned onto Piscatiqua Rd/Back River Rd and took time to stop and walk the steeper hills that lead us back towards the finish. Josh is still having issue with his stomach and some heartburn and he starts toying with the idea of "booting." He hangs in there strong as we negotiate the hills quickly and make our way to where Nate was to meet us for the 2nd loop. As we made it back to the Store 24, Nate was waiting for us. We greeted him and then Josh went over to the other side of his car at which point he upchucked his dinner rather proudly. Poor guy puked out of his eyeballs. NASTY! After refreshing with fresh fluids, gels and whatever else we needed, we were ready to take on loop #2.

Loop 2: Miles 11-20
Te three of us took off. While Josh and I started to slow down a bit and tried to continue our moderate pace, we got to observe Nates current level of fitness. Nate is rebounding from the foot injury that stopped him from Running Across New Hampshire and I can verify that he is rebounding well. It was almost like Nate could have run circles around us. It was great to have his company as the usual jokes started pouring out as we laughed our way around the 2nd loop. Traffic is starting to slow down and become less numerous but there are still plenty of cars out at 11pm. BUt as we strolled down Spur Rd, we saw no cars at al on this section and the night was growing more peaceful. That is until we got onto Back River Rd again. Tw cars came screaming down the road and they were filled with either dunk or stoned college kids. With their window's rolled down and the clock striking midnight we hear, "What the hell are you doing!? It's late... GO TO BED!" We got a huge laugh out of these clowns as they drove down to route 4, tool their turn and from afar... continued to yell at us, "It's LATE!!! GO TO BED!!" And soon they were gone. Josh is feeling much better stomach wise, but now his hips are starting to bother him, poor guy. He is beginning to wonder if two loops is going to be enough for him. As he and Nate talk it up on the hill section, I feel my stomach drop and I come to a screeching halt in the road.. in a split second, I run off into the woods to take care of business. DAMN it's cold. The temp is dropping ever so slightly and I feel it now that I've stopped. The guys continue up the road and wait for me just ahead. I catch up with them and we run the last 2 miles together to finish loop 2.

Loop 3: Miles 21-30
As we return to the cars, Josh mulls over his decision and makes the right one in deciding to call it a night after 20 miles. His hips are killing him and there is no sense in pushing the button on a training run. We wish him well and Nate and I take off into the night for one last loop. As we take off up the hill, we talk about what kind of a stand up guy Josh really is and how well he did tonight in cranking out the 20 miles that he did. And then.. conversation was come and go as we ran mostly quietly into the night. It's just after 1am now. There are virtually no cars on the road aside from a few here and there. The temp has dropped to 20 degrees and we feel its frigid infliction upon our faces. Nate was cold at the cars and Josh lent him his fleece coat. Now Nate is overheating a bit but its better than being cold. We laugh it up as usual as we make our final round. My feet are killing me from the pavement and the kink in my neck is starting to hurt. I'm tired, and ready to call it a night. As we reach mile 29ish.. we see a truck come hauling ass up the hill in front of us and as it gets closer, he actually swerves to try to hit us. You've got to be kidding me. We give him the one finger salute and hustle down the road to our finish. 30 miles, at night, in February... complete.
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Thoughts:
I'm very pleased with how the run went. My training is still not back to normal but I'm slowly getting there trying to piece a few days together during the week. I just need to get my daily mileages up. But for 30 miles, I did much better on this 30 miles then I did with the Boston Prep x2. I felt better before, during AND after. I think things are starting to come together again finally.. but I'm pretty far behind on my training for McNaughton Park. The goal at McNaughton is to simply survive at this point. The only issues during the run were my feet hurt. I was pretty capable of turning the legs over on the late loop and even pushed myself running up the final hills on the loop. The bottoms of my feet are getting hard and rough again which is good as well. Really glad I had some company on the loop, it always makes it a lot more fun.

Next up... Pittsfield Snowshoe 50 Miler

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Moats and NO Badwater


(Photo Courtesy: Dave Dunham)

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Conway, NH
South, Middle and North Moat Mountains
10 Miles = 5 Hours 45 Minutes

I got an e-mail about a week or two ago asking if I'd join my friend Alan on his hiking of the Moat mountains in Conway, NH. This would not be any ordinary hike, Al was finishing hiking a peak-bagging list and it is one I was certain not to miss the celebration for. We all met up at 9am at the Diana's Bath's parking area and then carpooled over to Dugway Rd where our hike would begin. Temps were all ready in the mid to upper 20s at this point in the day and the sun was shining brightly. It had been a long time since I'd hiked with many of these folks who had shown up. Local legend Kevin Tilton, mountain running legend David Dunham, a cast of other characters and Alan himself who was about to finish hiking to the summit of all 176 three-thousand foot peaks in New Hampshire.

Al was getting antsy and ready to roll in the parking lot, our group was all ready behind time wise. The only one with any worry on the time was me, as I had to make it back to Manchester for my mother's birthday party by 5:30. So at some point around 9:15am, we took off into the woods at a brisk pace and climbed towards the ridge line of the Moat Mountains. The trails are hard packed frozen tundra. I'd call it snow but it hardly qualifies anymore. I'd call it sleet... because that's what it looks like but I doubt it qualifies as that either. Its just frozen garbage really. But it was so eloquently shimmering in the days rising sun. As a group we all climbed up the first open patches of of the summit dome of South Moat and soaked in the rays of sun as we negotiated rotting snow. We were afforded with amazing views to the south and east as well as of Mount Chocorua, the most photographed mountain in the world. (I heard this tid bit somewhere)

After taking in the views and the company on the first peak, I was given the job of finding the trail over to the middle and North peaks of our adventure. I'd like to say that the going was easy but it wasn't. Bare rocks made for hell on our snowshoes, and when there was snow, it was heavy, wet, sticky and in some places... deep. I feel into a few spruce traps along the way and the trail was extremely hard to follow in places. But for all the trouble we endured in negotiating the ridge, we were treated with such magnificent views in all directions of the White Mountains. It was a gorgeous day, superb views and a motley crew of hikers.

As we made our way from Middle to North, I enjoyed catching up with Al after not having talked to him in quite some time. We discussed our usual topics and got a few chuckles out of each other. I'm really glad I decided to show up to support him in his quest. As we reached the summit of North Moat, we all wished all a hearty congrats on the finishing of his list. I wanted to stay and celebrate but I needed to boogie down to the car. Time was winding down and we were a bit behind on our hike after having to slosh across the ridge searching for the trail and breaking it out. I shook hands with those I had met and friends of old. Waved good bye to some.. took off my snowshoes and bounded off of the summit in search of the trail. The trail down was a hardened mess of post holes and backcountry ski tracks. It wasn't hard to follow, but it was rather difficult to negotiate. I post holed in a few places, thought I broke my knee in others all the while trying to scurry my best down the trail to the car so as to not be late for tonight's festivities.

As I scurried down the trail I enjoyed some time alone wishy washing through an amazing birch forest. I rubbed my hands across every tree I could touch and smiled at all the rest. I felt great, rejuvenated and as much as I loved hiking with the group, I loved the short time I had alone just as much. I came upon the Diana's Baths area which is now nothing more than frozen waterfalls and the faint gurgle of rippling waters below. It was so cool to see and hear. As I made it back to the car, I hoped in and took off quickly for Manchester
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Happy Birthday Mom!
I had a great time with my family at the Olive Garden in Manchester.
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Badwater
Finally, I found out today that I DID NOT get into Badwater. I am not surprised as I'm sure there were hundreds more qualified runners than myself. It was however fun to have my name and application thrown into the mix. I'm not sure when in the future I'll try, but now it's time to finalize my plans for the year and get going on training for them... more to come in the coming days on my plans for 2009 and my goals!

Onward, upward and forward
SJ

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ultra Results

I want to have a better organized place for my ultra-results and provide links to each races report. So here it is, it will be edited over time. To read a report, just click on the races name and you'll be taken to that races report.

2005
7.25.05: Wakely Dam 50K (NY): 7:57

2006
6.24.06: Rachel Carson 35 mi.(PA): 8:04
7.22.06: Wakely Dam 50K (NY): 7:02
9.24.06: Vermont 50 Miler (VT): 10:32
10.21.06: Breakers Nifty 50 Miler (RI): 10:05
11.18.06: JFK 50 Miler (MD): 9:47

2007
1.6-7.07: Disney's Goofy Challenge 39.3 mi.(FL): 5:59
4.14.07: McNaughton Park 100 Miler (IL): 34:15
5.27.07: Pineland Farms 50K (ME): 5:35:15
6.9.07: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 16:02
6.23.07: Pemi Loop Challenge 50K (NH): 10:14
7.21.07: Vermont 100 (VT): 23:19
9.1.07: Grand Teton 100 (WY): 30:44
9.30.07: Vermont 50 (VT): 10:06
11.10.07: Stone Cat Ale 50 Miler (MA): 10:34

2008
4.11.08: McNaughton Park 150 Miler (IL): 33:33 (100 Miles)
5.17.08: Massanutten 100 (VA): 32:09
6.14.08: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 12:20
7.19.08: Vermont 100 (VT): 23:37
9.14.08: Pisgah 50K (NH): 6:31
9.28.08: Vermont 50 Miler (VT): 8:58
10.19.08: The Run Across New Hampshire 124 Mi: 31:50

2009
3.6.09: Pittsfield Snow Ultra (VT) 52.4 Miles: 15:07
4.12.09: McNaughton Park 150 Miler (IL): 36:15 (100 Miles)
5.16.09: Massanutten 100 (VA): 33:35
6.6.09: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 12:27
7.19.09: Vermont 100 (VT): 23:27
9.27.09: Vermont 50 (VT): 10:14
10.17.09: The Run Across New Hampshire 118.5 Miles: 34:26

2010
3.27.10: Barkley Marathons (TN): 22 Miles 12:25
5.8.10: McNaughton in Vermont 100 (VT): 7:02 (30 Miles)
6.5.10: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 11:22
6.26.10: Western States 100 (CA): 28:29
7.16.10: Vermont 100 (VT): 28:58
8.21.10: Leadville 100 (CO): 18:00 (61 Miles)
9.26.10: Vermont 50 (VT): 10:53
10.23.10: Sullivan Expedition 125 Miles (NH): 25:00 (61 Miles)


2011
3.5.11: Pittsfield Snowshoe 100 (VT): 32 Miles 22:22
7.17.11: Leadville Silver Rush 50 Miler (CO): 11:33
8.20.11: Leadville Trail 100 Miler (CO):
9.17.11: Steamboat 50 Miler (CO):

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Boulder Loop Trail

Sarah entertained me with a very cool weekend in North Conway. As we made our way into town Saturday night and checked into the Holiday Inn Express, we had a chance encounter with David Breashears in the hotels Lobby. David is the producer of the Everest IMAX film that played nationwide in IMAX Theaters. He is also spoken of in John Krakauers Book, Into Thin Air. It was definitely a thrill to share some earth if him for a bit.

Sunday we headed over to the Kancamagus Highway where we parked at the Albany Covered bridge to head out on a short 3 mile hike of the Boulder Loop Trail.


Temps had soared into the lower 50's here in the great white hell... er... ah.. North. We could have hiked in short sleeves except the winds were a changin'. Winds were shifting from the South to the North and with the change came snow showers and dropping temps. In the hour and a half it took us to hike the 3 mile loop, the temp dropped some 10 degrees. We parked the car and strapped on our snowshoes and enjoyed a nice leisurely stroll of the Boulder Loop Trail. I was amazed at how little snow there was in the north country in comparison to what we have down on the seacoast. Its been a tough winter for sure.

As we made our way up past the initial boulder fields, along the banks of the Swift River, we were in awe of the ice hanging off of the many cliff sides.

Making our way to the first initial set of ledges, we admired various animal tracks the included deer, moose, bobcat and some hawk/eagle feathers that we found.

We continued on our hike making our way to the ledges of the boulder loop and enjoying the gorgeous views while the wicked Northerly winds continued to usher in a new shot of frigid air and some more winter-like snow showers. We enjoyed some spectacular views of Chocorua, Passaconaway and Whiteface, Various peaks to the east and the valley to the west. It was a gorgeous day to be in the mountains and it was great to find a wonderful place to reap the benefits therein. Peace, quiet, tranquility and savage nature. The mountains are good for the soul, and while many of our friends are stuck peak-bagging the 4k's.. we found the same solace in a tinier place with all the same benefits. I cannot wait to return to these mountains over the next 2 weekends!



Thursday, February 5, 2009

Run The Kanc '09

What: Run The Kanc '09 Fat Ass
When: Saturday, February 21, 2009
Where: Conway, NH to Lincoln, NH
Distance: 35 Miles of Pavement

That's really all there is to it. No fees, no awards, no aid, no wimps. This is a pure 100% "Fat Ass" run (originally scheduled for Feb 7th) that will take place weather permitting.

The Highway
The Kancamagus Highway is a designated National Scenic Byway. The Kancamagus Highway, or colloquially "the Kanc," is a 34.5 mi (55 km) long two-lane road that runs, east and west overall, through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Part of New Hampshire Route 112, it is generally considered one of the most scenic drives in the region.

The highway, which opened in 1959 after two dead-end stretches of road were connected, runs from the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, and along the Swift River from Kancamagus Pass, at an elevation of 2,855 feet (870 m), to New Hampshire Route 16 in Albany. With the exception of brief stretches at either end, the road runs through the White Mountain National Forest.

The Run
26.2 Miles up gradual uphill to the top of Kancamagus Pass followed by a quad pounding 9 mile downhill to the finish in Lincoln. This run is remote and runners must be prepare to be self reliant. There is no aid along the road and except for at the start and at the finish, there are no operating business's, homes or buildings.

This is a NIGHT run starting from Conway at 9pm. It typically takes 7-8 hours to complete the journey to Lincoln. It is a group run, not a race. Runners should plan to stick together. This run will take place only in non-snowy(rain) conditions. Cold is not a factor unless windchill advisories are posted.

If you are interested in joining us on this run, please contact me by e-mail at Sherpajohn@gmail.com