Leadville Training, Week 7 Recap, Mount Washington, Baby

Here’s how the week played out.

Monday started out great – recovery day. 

Tuesday was a nice, short 4 mile run.

Wednesday’s run was fantastic with a 15 mile scheduled run and I finished 14 miles on a mixture of trails and roads. The bugs in the woods are terrible. If I wasn’t for wearing headphones with ear buds they would’ve been in my ears. The small, buzzy’ing black bugs really liked to bite the back of my arms. Grrrrrr

Thursday was a little longer than scheduled but again, a nice post-14-mile run that was about 7 miles. Since it was the 4th of July I packed in so many fun things that it felt like a super, big training day: swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee with Kendra, Adam and Toby-dog, and a fun swim in the Merrimack River with Kyle and Pants. Such a fun, fun day. 

Friday was another recovery day preparing for what was supposed to be a big mileage weekend. I’m trying to not be disappointed as I write about the weekend because I think part of the ultra running life is learning to go with the changes that happen in a long training plan and just not dwelling on it; keep moving forward to the next big training day. 

Saturday was hot and humid at 6am. I had to run 30 miles but after 4 miles in I had to decide to go left for the big loop that would bring me back for water/electrolytes at mile 15, or go right and 8 miles would bring me back for water/electrolytes or stopping – I went right. I was dripping from sweating and just felt off for the entire run.

At mile 8 I called it quits for running outside and went to the Y to run in A/C. The real feel was 84 and I was very low energy, and a bit dizzy. I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill and did about 200 stairs and wanted to quit. 

I sat on the stretching floor for about 5 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to go home. I debated. I could do some weights which I seemed to have energy for or more treadmill or just sit here and decide. For the record, I don’t usually ponder for so long what to do, I usually act. I usually just go home. But this time, I decided to make use of the time and do weights. This is huge for me. I just couldn’t run. 

Then I proceeded to have a good rest of the day with Winnie, Kyle and Pants; and get over myself.

Sunday was a hike with Bob and Mark to Mount Washington. Originally the plan was to run 20 miles. At the beginning of the week it was unknown if I could even be able to go to Mount Washington since I didn’t have anyone to let out Winnie during the day. I couldn’t take her because it’s one of the hardest hikes in the White Mountains. On Saturday Jeff texted me and said his plans changed and he could let Winnie out. Whoo Hooo!!! It was on. 

When I arrived at Pinkham Notch Bob mentioned something about two loops. Wait, WHAT? Their plan, which wasn’t communicated, was learning mental fortitude for Leadville – they would hike to the top, turn around and do it one more time. I had no idea. But I should’ve known because these guys are ultra runners, they think like me however, this one caught me by surprise. I thought it was one run/hike ascent of Mount Washington. I said I would try. 

The hike was amazing and since I hadn’t hiked it since 1992, it was new to me. Although, I did remember all the rocks on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and how hard it was. However, being in the best, freaking shape of my life made the hike so doable and so enjoyable. We had to take Lions Head trail to the top of Mount Washington because the top part of Tuckerman’s was closed due to snow. Being on top of the rock pile is one of the most amazing things in the world.

Being on top of the world was amazing and I want to do it again – I want to do the Presidential Loop before heading to Leadville. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. We talked about all our training and they told me about Leadville Training Camp, and what they learned. It’s so great hanging out with people who are going through what you are and have the same joys and concerns about preparing for 100 miles at 10,000 feet. It was a great day. 

I opted out of the second loop. But those two – total rocks stars with 9,000 feet of climbing in 8 hours and 16 miles. I drove home and hung out with Winnie-dog.

An end to a somewhat good training week and remembering where I started.

Hiking Whiteface, what cures hopelessness

This morning I head up to the White Mountains to hike Mount Whiteface. I attempted her early this spring and turned around at the granite ledges because I seriously thought I would die. It was snowy and icy and I brought my dog. I wanted to live. So I turned around.

Now, June 1 I hike Blueberry Ledge solo. I want the peak. I am not sure what the day will hold for me; maybe Passaconway, too. But I don’t have a plan except to bag Whiteface.

The trailhead has a little history for me. Back in 1988 my boyfriend at the time took me to Sandwich and Wonalancet for a second-hike-ever to Whiteface. He told me that he wanted to be buried in Wonalancet because he loved the place so much. Now, so many years later I had a first kiss in the trailhead with a guy I really liked. Hmmphf. The mountains. The place where I felt reborn after not having any goals and not knowing what my life would be like after high school graduation – the most confusing time of my life. I feel for high school graduates.

June 1, 2019 – I’m running/hiking Blueberry Ledge for the third time in my life and I’m feeling great. One week after running 50 miles I feel like a million bucks….. Until I get to the ledges where I turned around a month ago. It is so steep and scary and I feel at any moment I will fall to my death. Okay, a little dramatic, but I’m not in love with this trail or this mountain in any way, shape or form. I somehow manage to scramble to the top and I’m pissed. The trail diverges and I don’t know where to go. I go left and then it doesn’t feel right. The view is amazing but I’m distracted. I take off my pack and look at the map and I have to decide where to go. I’m not going back the way I came; certain death. I decide to go the Rollins Trail and just go home. I know I should summit Passaconway, I’m so close. I’ll wait and see.

But my mood is dark. I’m mad. I’m pissed. It has more to do than the hike and certain death; I’m just mad.

I follow the trail and it meanders into dark, moody places along the ridge. I run when I can; I want out. I think about Leadville and how I will feel running downhill. Will there be as many rocks and roots? There will definitely be more people. I stop and eat and finally take a picture.

I’m praying and hoping the mountains change my mood but I’m mad. I want the mountains to change my mood; I want to be happy and hopeful – but I’m not. There are no people on this trail. I finally reach the trail junction where I can head to Passaconway or go down Dicey’s Mill Trail.

I chose home.

I run as much as I can and finish 9.7 miles back to my car. The parking lot is overfilling with cars. I only saw 5 people the entire day.

I actually came to do what I set out to but in the back of my mind it would’ve been good to get Passaconaway.

I stink. I’m mad. I drive home.

I walk down to the Concord Co-Op for dinner. My heart hurts for a million different reasons. I feel like a teenager whose heart is broken and my stomach aches. As I enter the store I hear the song, Let It Be from the Beatles.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

I buy my food and walk home. I hear a line from a book I read so many times, so many years ago: Running From Safety, that reminds me –  take me out of the ball game, tell me it’s over, and I get instant perspective.

The anger, frustration is gone, gone. Instant perspective is all that I needed.

While the mountains didn’t cure me today, I’m still certain they will.

Week 17 Training Recap

Average Resting Heart Rate: 51

Total Vert: 7,200

Miles: 45.7 (includes hiking)

Let’s start with the Good this week:

Total Vertical – 7,200 is the highest number to date since training started on January 21. I got in more hiking this week including an attempt at Whiteface in the White Mountains. While the snow is gone on the trails in Concord there is still plenty of snow and ice an hour north of me.

Resting Heart Rate – average heart rate is getting higher, to a better number. 47 is just too low even for a fit athlete. As I look at my watch just now Average Resting bumped up to 55. This means no dizziness and just feeling better all around. I’m not sure why it plummets like it does, and I actually think it may have something to do with humidity but I will continue to monitor.

Weight Training – I’m back in the weight room and I love the new routine. I started on a machine that will hopefully help me do a real pull up.

Hiking in the Whites – hiked in the Whites with Alex, his pup and Winnie. I love being in the White Mountains and we hiked into the Sandwich Range Wilderness. (Should’ve snapped a photo of the sign.) I always love being in a wilderness.

Injury Free – I’m injury free!

The Bad/Unfortunate

I didn’t hit the big mileage that I planned for this weekend. Saturday was a bust after running 11 miles on the Concord trails including Carter Hill (the photo above), falling and injuring my left pinky that doesn’t bend from being broken in 2014. I was nervous about the swelling and getting worse so I headed home. At 14 miles I called it. Once I was home I didn’t go out on another loop. Motivation was low on Saturday from the pain and cold temps. I need to work on this dedication/motivation issues when I need to finish training plan miles. Sunday started with a 4am wake up call and drive to the trailhead to meet Alex. The hike was awesome – not too steep at first and a bit of a monorail most the way. The mileage was supposed to be around 8 but we turned around at the first icy ledge that seemed like certain death for curious dogs. But the bad part is that I really thought I’d come home and run 13 miles and I didn’t. Hiking was the highlight of my week!

I had a head cold all week. On the weekdays when I knew I had to do mileage (a pro in the middle of the con statement), I did the miles but felt awful most of the time.

Today, Monday, April 29 it’s time to regroup and commit to miles, weights, stairs, hiking and night runs. My cold is over and I’m injury free. Time to get strong and get ready for the next 30 miler milestone on May 11.

Getting Ready For BIG Miles

Tomorrow is the TARC 50K in Weston, Ma. I’m excited for this race. It’s not really a race but a training milestone. I pretty much just need to finish and beat the cut-off times.

Then on Sunday, run 10 miles.

I’m ready.

Marjory Swope Trails today.

Today, Friday is a recovery day so I hiked with Winnie this morning and took her on a few long walks during the day. This morning it was sooooo humid.

91% Humidity – geez.

I’m going to bed early and then heading south of the border, the New Hampshire border.

Race report to follow shortly.

What Winter Warrior is teaching me

On this day of finding out if I get in to Leadville Run 100 I will write about what I’ve learned from Winter Warrior:

  • Get up early and wear a headlamp to get my miles in
  • If I need to do some in the morning and some in the evening that’s okay, just get all the miles in.

The rules state that I must run or walk OUTSIDE every day in the month of January.

I track my mileage everyday using the STRAVA app on my phone or download Suunto data.

I’m going for Gold:

Bronze = run/walk 1 mile each day
Silver = run/walk 3 miles each day
Gold = run/walk 5 miles each day

All for a Winter Warrior Hat

This is the prize for running/walking/hiking 5 miles everyday in January.

I also got Jeff to sign up and we are a team. Jeff has walked at least one mile every day despite getting a cold on Day 3.

Our team effort looks like this as of today. We are in 76th place.

This is where I am as of this morning: