Velocity North 400k Challenge

Although I’ve kept track of my vertical gain while running, hiking, skiing, and climbing for many years now, it has never been my main focus.

Until now.

As I write about on the VN400K page, the 400,000 vertical foot goal for 2019 represents approximately 0.0001% of the 400 billion tons of glacier ice that are lost annually to climate change — most of it in the northern hemisphere.

Even that small fraction is a tangible enough — and challenging enough — goal to shoot for, and one that I thought I might be able to convince other folks to join me in. Thanks to the magic of Facebook and Strava, more than 40 people (so far!) are doing just that.

Whether taking on the 400k single-handedly, or partnering with a group, or opting for a 100k or 40k goal — you are all amazing, and I’m so proud and grateful for the support of friends (both old and new) willing to jump onboard.

How did the first week go?

Well, I started off with a rest day on 1/1 🙂 … but since then, I’ve tried all sorts of approaches to see how a typical week might pan out.

Day 1: 5k run up the road behind our house. 334 ft.
Day 2: 6 hr skimo adventure. 8 mountain laps. 7520 ft.
Day 3: 6-mile trail run. 2711 ft.
Day 4: Trampolining! 300 ft.
Day 5: 3 laps on our home hill. 5k. 859 ft.

I wanted to start the next week on a Monday, so I had a short first week, but I managed nearly 12,000 feet in those five days. I know that I won’t have (nor will most people) time to do back-to-back mountain ski and run days mid-week, so I’m taking advantage of a lighter schedule and making time where I can. The fact that a 5k out the door can yield more than 800 ft is inspiring — knowing I won’t always have to travel to get in some vert is good to know!

I won’t deny that the 400k goal sounds super daunting (it does to me!). But when I’ve talked with people about why I have this goal in mind, and how it can connect to huge natural processes like climate change while bringing together people from all over to work toward a shared long-term goal — I see a growing recognition that we’re doing something meaningful.

And hard.

And undeniably cool.

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