My last post I wrote that my only goal in 2020 is to finish a 100 Mile race. But ….. I read Semi Rad’s post and feel like that might be a thing. I have a few days to decide. What I like about his plan in 2019 is that he just ran it on his own, most weeks. He did some organized races, which I could do, too, but mainly just ran 26.2 at one time, 52 times in one year. Now that is a commitment.
Okay, I don’t need to think about it. I’m doing it.
Inspired by Rob Azevedo’s article in Sunday’s Concord Monitor, where he reflected on his 2019 calendar/planner and important (and not so important) items recorded in it, I wanted to write about my 2019. I wanted to remember important events by month.
I’m in a bit of a funk the last few days, which is typical for me this time of year. Even after registering for all my 2020 events, buying a new tri bike and finally getting back to a solid training plan after being injured, I’m in a funk.
I’m hopeful that by the end of writing this post about 2019, which was a pretty awesome year for me personally and professionally, that I will turn this funk around and be joyful like I am about 90 percent of the time. Here it goes.
I got into the freaking Leadville 100 race via the lottery so winter training kicked in. I ran outside in all kinds of weather and conditions: snow, sleet and freezing rain. I completed my first Winter Warrior where I ran or walked five miles, outside every day in January.
Training, Training and more Training. In the cold.
Some injuries while my training miles increase.
April Finished the TARC 50K in Massachusetts so I’m officially an ultra runner again.
I ran the mountainous, Peak Bloodroot Ultra, a 30 miler in Vermont and finished as second female. I made a new friend who is also running Leadville. At the end of the month I finished my first ever 50 miler at Pineland. Wow – May was pretty freaking awesome!
I traveled to Maryland to support Mark at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman. I am not inspired to triathlon but was inspired by the athletes. I also traveled to Colorado to run the Leadville Marathon. I learned so much about running at altitude and what not to eat the night before a race. You’d think it was my first marathon, it wasn’t, but I didn’t eat an ideal dinner the night before and paid for it on the trail.
Lesson Learned in 2019 #1: as an athlete you are always learning.
Hiked Mount Washington for the first time in 20 years. I was in great shape and it was pretty easy. Spent a weekend in Colorado and ran/hiked Pikes Peak. It was a great training day. I also finished my first (because it certainly won’t be my last) Pemi Loop in the White Mountains.
First off road triathlon in a very long time, Top of the Notch Tri. I will do that again. Finished my 4,000 footers in New Hampshire by hiking to Owl’s Head. Although in hindsight doing this 17 mile long hike the week before Leadville may not have been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Leadville 100 – My A Race – My Big Goal – a big DNF. But it truly was a grand adventure and changed me in so many ways. It reminded me that I’m not going to accomplish everything despite having success in races 1, 2, 3 and 4 leading up to race 5. It put my ego in check and made me rethink how I approached every detail of my training. I know everything I did wrong and I’m ready to not make the same mistakes. While I’m not trying for Leadville 100 in 2020, I will finish a 100 mile race.
Lesson Learned in 2019 #2: When you don’t do the training plan four weeks leading up to the race, you will fail.
Hawaii Ironman World Championship with Mark and his Crew. I watched the best athletes in the world compete on the Big Island. While there, I didn’t have any desire to race Kona. I was inspired by the pros and age groupers, but didn’t think – Man, I’d love to train and qualify for Kona. Although as I write this, and being signed up for IM Mont Tremblant in 2020, maybe I feel that desire a little bit today. Kassandra visited and we ran the half marathon in Norwich, Vermont. I’m so glad she came to visit.
November and December I hiked in the mountains a lot with Winnie-dog. I’m much more comfortable hiking in snow and winter conditions now. I love being on the trails in the White Mountain and hiking at 4,000 feet, especially in the winter. I have the confidence to go above treeline and on New Years Day am planning a hike to at least one Presidential Peak.
My 2019 Dream Year was pretty good. My goals were to race TARC 50K, Blood Root 30M, Pineland 50M, Leadville Marathon and Leadville 100. 4 out 5 is pretty darn good!
I wanted to run/hike 2,000 miles and actually completed 2192 miles in 2019.
It was a very good year. And when I actually take the time to reflect and write about it I am so happy, so blessed and so grateful. Despite injuries, heartbreak and DNFs, 2019 was about 90 percent perfect.
My one goal for 2020 – finish a 100 mile running race.
While I’m not sure it is the proper name, I called our hike on Thursday, December 26 the Pemi Traverse since we hiked 25 miles through the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and didn’t loop it. It seems like the right name, though.
The day started with a car spot coordinated by Ross. The four of us left from Route 302 and walked 2.5 miles on Zealand Road to the Hale Brook Trail. The hike was steep in section but spikes were the right choice. The temperature was warm enough to warrant wearing just a wind breaker, hat and gloves. We were the only ones on the trail and at the summit, so far. I don’t remember ever being at the summit of Mount Hale alone; it’s usually crowded.
Mount Hale, 4054, done!
Now onto Zealand via Twinway. While hiking through the low laying areas, the snow was sand-like. The streams weren’t frozen, but icy, and at one point I stepped the wrong way over a stream, lost my balance and face-planted into a pile of soft snow. There were a few false summits and I was glad to reach the junction for a right hand turn and a .1 mile hike off Twinway to the summit.
Zealand, 4260, done!
We hiked over Guyot, 4580, but unfortunately it doesn’t count as one of the 48 4,000 footers.
Onto the Bondcliff Trail and a short 1 mile diversion over to West Bond, 4540.
Originally I was going to bypass it and keep on with Vicky who was having leg cramps, and didn’t want the extra miles. I bypassed this peak on the summer Pemi Loop run because I was exhausted. But on this hike I felt great and wanted to go for it once I saw the trail sign. It was soooooo worth it. Great views, no clouds and no wind. I hit my head twice on tree limbs dangling across the trail (Stop staring at your feet while hiking!) while on the final 10 miles of this hike. Ouch.
I hiked up Bond as fast as I could to catch up with Vicky. Hiking above treeline is amazing. By 4:15pm there was still no wind and the temperature seemed to be staying steady but I was losing light. Bond, 4698 done! I took a video and some pictures and continued on to Bondcliff.
I wanted to arrive at Bondcliff at sunset because it is my favorite mountain. I missed the sunset but it’s okay. Vicky was waiting at the top. I took in the amazing view and the colors to the west. I just love the rock formation and the feeling of being in the middle of a protected wilderness. There was very little snow and I could’ve taken off my spikes but I opted to keep them on; they made me feel more confident despite so many rocks. Dark was approaching and I wanted to hike the difficult descent off Bondcliff with Vicky so we headed down.
Bondcliff, 4265, done!
The slogfest back to Lincoln Woods began in the dark. It was my first time hiking with a headlamp in the White Mountains. We ran some of the trail and then really picked up the pace the last four miles. We made it safe and sound to our cars.
Things I learned on this trip, luckily not from difficulty but just knowing that so much could’ve gone wrong, and always thinking about worst case scenarios:
Always carry extra batteries for your headlamp
Never hike long distance that begin and end in the dark, alone
Hike with more gear and more food than you need
Stop staring at your feet and look around while you hike so you don’t get a concussion from running into trees
What a day! Here’s the crew stopping at Zealand Hut for some water.
Saturday was a hike the Hancock Loop kind of day. The morning started out cold. When I left Concord it was 9 degrees and during the drive it hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. It was a high of 14 when I started from the Hancock parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway.
I know this trail so well. I’ve been on it five times already in the last two years. Attempting North and South separately in all seasons. Today my goal was to do the entire loop. In my mind I knew that if it didn’t feel right I would turn around: too icy, too cold, too scary.
All reasons to turn around.
At mile 3 I met my first hiker. A solo, woman on her way back to the trailhead. At 10:00 she had already done the loop – impressive. She told me she had an early start and the conditions on the ridge were amazing: no wind, some soft snow and no snowshoes needed. She warned of icy conditions going up and coming down but said all very doable. Running into her gave me the confidence that I could do this loop.
I’m so glad I did. Going up South Hancock was tricky. Icy spots had me grabbing trees and stumps to get up. Steep. Steep.
The ridge was awesome. Fluffy snow, cool views, no wind. I started to run when I could and felt giddy, laughing to myself at the pure joy of being at 4,000 feet in December. Joy. Joy. Joy.
A little more climbing to North Hancock and then down the steep trail back into the valley.
We hiked 9.5 miles; the most mileage Winnie has ever hiked.
Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.