Tag Archives: White Mountains

progression

Dragon and I finished up a long training block yesterday with a run back and forth across the Presidential Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains¬†— earning a 1000 mile badge from Run the Year 2017 and racking up a classic 8-week progression.

 

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Never before have I cherished an upward trending graph so much. ūüôā

This week will see something of a decrease in mileage and vertical feet in preparation for Saturday’s Mount Washington Road Race. I’ve completed this race 4 times before, and I’m cautiously optimistic about my training this time around. Now it’s mostly up to weather, wind, and hydration.

After that, it’s 4 weeks until wheels up to Scandinavia!

I celebrated my run with Dragon by making a little video ūüôā

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Goals vs. Expectations

I had planned a long run for yesterday, January 1, to start off the New Year — and the Climate Run 500-mile Challenge — on strong footing. Of the 14 or so miles I had planned, I finished just over 6, mostly because despite how stunningly beautiful the alpine scenery along New Hampshire’s Franconia Ridge, the 60 mph wind¬†and 10¬įF temps added up to a bitter windchill through which I had no intention of running 3 miles of exposed ridgeline.

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Instead, I retreated down the trail to the relative security of the stunted spruce trees on the steep western slope of the ridge and reassessed.

I could keep with my plan and cross the ridge — not particularly wise or safe.

I could go the other direction through deep untracked snow — tried that. Neither fun nor really feasible given my running attire.

I could go back down and run along the snowmobile trail by the road — not really appealing.

Instead, I opted to run back down the Falling Waters Trail to the trailhead and I realized, doing the math as I ducked under branches and around the tight copses of spruce and birch along the trail’s steep upper pitches, that I’d already had a long run/nordic ski day of more than 17 miles only two days before. And the lack of a rest day (unless you count a November Project workout as ‘rest’). And the total week’s run/ski mileage of 53 miles was 20 miles more than the week before.

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I’d started the morning thinking, ‘Sunday…must be a Long Run,’ never really taking stock or reflecting on the depth or the rich variety of my entire week. It was a vacation week for the whole family, and that made the training schedule a lot more flexible — and full of skiing, running, mountains, gym time, and group workouts woven into the fabric of family and celebration.

It was no wonder I was feeling a little tired heading up my New Year’s Day mountain run!

Long term goals structure my year in broad strokes — to run the 500-mile Arctic Trail in August, to run 2017 miles in 2017, to PR a pair of ultramarathons this spring, to train with my Sterling team, and to work with the new Climate Run Team doing the 500-mile challenge.

Sometimes, though, reaching those goals can blind me to what I’m doing day to day. Of course, I keep track of all my workouts and share them on Strava, but occasionally I need (as I think we all need) some perspective.

Climbing a mountain is a great way to find some.

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The Long Way

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The view from the top

It has been something of a tradition for me over the past several years that, on a day in late summer, I’ve run up the 3 mile approach up the slopes of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington to¬†the base of the Pinnacle in Huntington Ravine, climbed the 500 ft route (rated 5.5), and run back down to Pinkham Notch.

Yesterday, I knew when I had reached the base of the technical climbing and laced up my climbing shoes that I was well ahead of my pace from last year. At the top of the climb some 20 minutes later, I knew that I could crush my PR of 2 hours and 52 minutes from last year.

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The Pinnacle, Huntington Ravine

But…

…I looked around, soaking in the solitude of being alone among¬†the massive granite ravine spires, ledges, talus, and waves of krummholz that arced away to the north. And I realized that this day was for something else. Something besides chasing last year’s time on this route.

It was about taking the long way and taking my time.

When I scrambled up the scree past cranberry, blueberry, and redcurrant and¬†joined the Alpine Garden trail a few minutes later, I turned north–toward Nelson Crag and the trail that would take me over the summit of Mount Washington. From there, I made my way across the Bigelow Lawn along¬†the lesser traveled Davis Path¬†toward Boot Spur, across Slide Peak, and beneath¬†Glen Boulder to wind back down to the trailhead in just over 4 hours.

Whether in planning a long run or expedition, or thinking about personal or community (or even global) resilience, we are ever deluding ourselves to think there is some shortcut; a path that just gets us where we want to go without distraction.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that there¬†never really is a shortcut–at least not one that doesn’t demand something from us in return–some compromise or some future debt.

If we are to truly recognize ourselves as part of a larger system, then it’s important to recognize what what happens elsewhere in the system when we don’t make¬†time to take the long way.

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The Davis Path