Thursday, December 31, 2009
Will i fall on my face? Oh sure, more times then I'm sure I'll be able to document. I want to be the person that can say, "yeah i DNF'd." Or "Yeah, I couldn't keep up." But i don't want it to be because i didn't try, I didn't train, or i didn't push through the lowest of lows to try to come out the other side.
With that being said, this blog will be my way of keeping myself accountable. If you read or follow this stupid thing, and start to see the posts getting to few and far between email me. If you stop seeing my weekly/monthly mileage number slow down or stop, email me and give me a stern talking to. Perhaps there's a good reason, or maybe i just need some words of encouragement to push me in the right direction.
Here's to an AMAZING 2010!
Monday, December 28, 2009
- Saturday Mar 6, 2010 - PEAK Snowshoe Marathon
- Weekend Mar 19-21, 2010 - Whale Challenge
- Weekend Apr 1-5, 2010 - Barkley 100
- Sunday Apr 18, 2010 - Muddy Moose
- Weekend May 14-17, 2010 - Massanutten 100
- Sunday May 29-30, 2010 - Pinelands Barefoot 5k + 50k Weekend
- Saturday Jun 6, 2009 - Peak Ultra 54
- Friday Jul 9, 2010 - Hillsboro 5k (if it comes back)
- Thursday Aug 12, 2010 - Cigna 5k
- Sunday Aug 22, 2010 - Moose on the Loose 10M
- Sunday Sept 19, 2010 - Pisgah 50k
- Sunday Sept 26, 2010 - Vermont 50
- Sunday Oct 10, 2010 – Harpoon Oktoberfest 5K
- Thursday Nov 25, 2010 - Turkey Trot 5k
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas everyone!
Twas the night before my Marathon, I was laying in bed,
Hoping at mile 20 my legs would not be dead.
My Brooks shoes were ready, sitting on my dry bag,
In hopes that they would carry me way ahead of the sag.
All my long runs are done; tempo and speed,
Had pasta for dinner to meet my carbo need.
I parked my car, my stomach was a mess,
No lines at the port a potties sure would be best.
The weather was cool not a cloud in sight,
Wind at my back will make my finish alright.
Leprechaun Bob said it is time to go,
Kept repeating to myself go out slow!
First few miles felt like a breeze,
No pain in my feet, shins or my knees
Settled in my pace, saw mile 4, 6 and 8,
when I get to mile 16 I hope I feel this great.
Halfway came and went, all still in tact,
Kept running strong and stayed with the pack.
Had Carb-boom number two to fuel me the way,
All the hard work is proving this could be my day.
Into Fort Story legs are starting to slow,
Dig deep now and pick up the flow.
I pass the lighthouse and beautiful Chesapeake Bay,
Thinking about what my coach would say.
Pass a water stop and open my stride,
Chaffing is minimal thanks to my Body Glide.
Made it to the Boardwalk, King Neptune in site,
Digging deep mentally with all my might.
Cross the finish line I see my friends, family too,
Time to grab a cold Yuengling and Warm Murphy's Irish Stew!
My Legs will be hurting from night until dawn
But I will never forget this day, SHAM ROCK ON!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
If you know me, you are well aware that it has been a rough year. After starting out the year behind schedule, missing the Snowshoe series and my first ultra, i was able to turn things around at the Peak Snowshoe race and go into Massanutten strong. Sadly, when i missed the cut off causing the DNF, the season declined. My training dropped to around 10 miles a week. When Rik and I came in as essentially the sweepers at Peak Ultra i figured my season was over before it had even started. He and I skipped the VT100 race all together for the first time in 14+/- years. August came and my personal life took a turn. I again became Loni's roommate as home life became destroyed. As a distraction, my focus turned to my first sports passion, and i picked hockey back up in a huge fashion after a several year hiatus, playing 3-4 nights a week. I credit playing hockey for the reason i finished my first VT50 10 years ago, and i can't help but credit it again for my finish at Pisgah and VT this September. October came and Leah & I crewed John across the state but i still couldn't find the spark to continue to train. Earlier in the year it appeared that Rik's passion for Ultra's seemed to fade and now it was my turn to feel that way. I picked up the book Born to Run as message boards and familiar racing links all started booming with Barefoot Running hype. I hoped that it would provide me with some motivation to get back into shape as my weight ballooned up to 175lbs (highest it's been in 6 years). Loni's 30 on 30 mile run motivated me to get back into the kick. Finally I'm back up to 15-20 miles a week, with some barefoot running mixed in for good measure. It's been a strange year of highs and lows, but i push on with a smile. As Sherpa would say, "Left, Right, Repeat." Thanks to everyone that shared miles and stories with me throughout the year. I can't wait to run with you again in 2010.
Notables of 2009:
-Trained more then any year before. (no idea on # of miles, i gave up documenting them at some point)
- I did more travel for races then any year prior. (VA - 2 times)
- I turned my lady friend from a "i don't run unless it's from police" to someone who had already planned on running a second race before she'd finished her first.
-Ran my first Snowshoe Ultra
-Finished 13th place in the 2nd annual Western NH Trail Running Series
-Won the Xterra New England Trail Running Series (AGAIN!)
-Got to race by my father’s side 6 times
1 Snowshoe Ultra
10 Trail Races
2 Sprint Triathlons
10 Road Races
Feb 22, 2009 – Frozen Shamrock 3 Miler – 31:23.0
Mar 1, 2009 - Claddagh 4 Miler – 44:11.0
Mar 6-7, 2009 - Peak Snow 52.4 – 15:28:12.0
Mar 8, 2009 – Hynes Tavern 5 Miler – 53:15.7
Mar 21, 2009 – Shamrock 8k – 54:57.0
Mar 22, 2009 – Shamrock Marathon – 4:21:34 (PR)
Apr 26, 2009 - Muddy Moose 14 Miler - 2:37:03
May 15-16, 2009 - Massanutten 100 - 64.9 Miles - 21:24 - DNF
May 20, 2009 - Rock'n'Roll 5k - 22:21
June 6, 2009 - Peak Ultra 53 - 16:10
June 13, 2009 - Six in the Stix - 55:26 (PR)
June 27, 2009 - All Out Trail Run - 42:45.9
July 4, 2009 - Clarence Demar 5k -22:55
July 5, 2009 - The Great Race XXX Tri -2:20:36 (32:33, 1:03:26, 44:36)
July 11, 2009 - Frenzy in the Forest - 44:19
July 25, 2009 - Wicked Wildcat - 57:05
July 26, 2009 - Colchester Tri-Option Tri - 2:28:48 (54:19, 59:59, 34:30)
Aug 8, 2009 - Xterra Stoked - 1:16:27
Aug 13, 2009 - Cigna Coorporate 5k -22:09
Aug 30, 2009 - Race to the Top of VT - 54:59
Sept 12, 2009 - Farnum 5.5 - 50:57
Sept 13, 2009 - Pisgah 50k - 8:02:13
Sept 27, 2009 - Vermont 50 - 11:59:56
Oct 10, 2009 - A Pleasant Climb - 1:40:03
Oct 11, 2009 - Oktoberfest 3.4 -28:43.9
Nov 26, 2009 - Turkey Trot 5k - 35 +/-
Dec 13, 2009 - Beaver Brook 4.5k - 27 +/-
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Dustin has got the thurst for being home, he misses his house, his wife, his dog, a cold beer at a favorite bar. It's 630 and we're breaking camp. The earliest start we've had yet, our last and shortest day. We toss on our packs and wish our camp mates a good day and head down the trail, very happy that this will be the last day we have to wear these things.
After restocking our water at the same stream as the night before we spend the next few miles explaining to Loni the personalities that our packs too on. Dustin's pack cover transformed his pack into Donatello made it totally look like a turtle shell so his pack made 80s cartoon outlandish comments like, "narly view dude!" and "i make your shoulders feel bodacious!"
My pack however started out as a little person, as Bill Bryson explains in his book, A walk in the Woods. Well my cartoon-ish brain transformed this little guy from saying "up up" like a little kid wanting a piggy back ride to now 5 days later, he was Mugsy the short mobster guy from Bugs Bunny that had a mean streak and enjoyed making me suffer. "yeah see, i'm going to make your kidneys bleed see, yeahhhh." I think being alone in the woods for 5 days was starting to wear on us.
We make it to Lucia's look out by 8am. We're FLYING, but there really isn't much to look out on in this section so it's not too hard to blast through. After signing the log book and enjoying the view back to Monadnock over the wind farm we push on. Up and down along the ridge, occasionally checking the map and seeing how close to Lake Solitude we were getting. Some of the rocky descents brought light to why the couple had described going over this section so crazily the day before. Sure walking in the rivers that were once snowmobile trails sucked, but at least we weren't boulder-ing on this ridge line. The story in the log book where one guy had described, "Fred had almost fell to his death no less then 3 times today" make sense
When we reached Solitude the mosquito hmmm was the loudest we had ever heard so we moved quickly. After a short climb we stopped briefly for a snack/lunch at White Rock Ledge. We were treated to a view of the clouds coming up through the valley and across and up and over the lake. Dustin said he was getting cold and we knew we had 1 mile to the summit so we moved with haste. The trail ends out onto Sunapee's access road and we knew we were almost home. As we pushed up the last few stretches a family was walking down with two of the fattiest kids i've ever seen. They all give us strange looks as if we were rapists or pedophiles. Never a hello, or anything. It's as if 3 people with hiking gear were aliens to them.
A few more steps and we've made it, well kind of. Dustin and I high five one another while standing on the survey's pin at the peak of Sunapee. Man what a journey. The clouds are rolling in and the gondola is running so people are all over the place. It's mildly disappointing, after starting on top of Monadnock with true hikers we've reached the northern peak and are surrounded by fat yuppies that RODE to the top.
After looking for a few minutes we find the trail down from the summit. 2.4 more miles to the car! We're pumped. We laugh and joke and then we hear voices ahead. A couple of women are hiking up, one in flip flops. I shake my head, i mean, perhaps she was hardcore, but flip flops? seriously? on this muddy rocky trail? I'm sure she was part of the reason NH has changed it's laws so you have to pay for your own rescues.
Due to our quickened pace knowing the end was near Dustin had slipped a few times and repeatedly said, "the next time I'm going over, just you wait." But today, the hiking gods were on our side and he managed to save himself no less then 4 times on the decent. 10 minutes or so from the trail head we pass a pack of wanna-be hippy kids, one makes a sneering comment "huh, that's a lot of a gear." "yeah, five days worth." i snap back. You'd think being in the woods for 5 days with minimal human contact would give you greater patience for your fellow man, for me it has the oppostite effect. My third eye was too open, i saw these kids for what they were, they were hippies for the drugs, not because of the lifestyle or anything else. They just wanted to go smoke pot in the woods.
We reach the trail head and are overwhelmed by cars. The Sunapee Craftsman's fair was today. Cars filling the parking lots, and lining the access road, being shuttled from parking lots further away. Yes the craftsmans fair is a place where dopes PAY to look at overpriced shit that you don't realy need. How it was described for us by one of the 3 that shared our site the night prior. "It's a place where you get to pay to get to look at buying and overpriced set of wooden spoons." Ah yes, a rich mans craft fair. And boy was that parking lot packed full of douche bags. Good thing we are in a recession and people can't afford to eat or heat their homes. It took me all of 50 feet of walking through the parking lot looking at the dopey piles of humanity to turn to Dustin and say, "Hey, you want to turn around and go the other way?" His prompt response, "This sucks! Yeah, i'd rather be in the wood too dude." It was obvious his eye was too open as well.
We made it, we didn't just make it, we killed it. There was never a doubt we couldn't do it. It was just something that i hadn't ever thought i would actually do. It took us about a day back in the office to change our tune about the Long Trail. The doubts that we shared on being able to do a full 30 days in the woods, camping with our gear was gone. A bad day hiking in the woods away from the corporate world is a million times better then a good day in a cubicle dealing with these fake fraudulent human beings.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
It took four mornings for us to finally be awoken by sunlight, but boy was it worth it. After getting through yesterday’s journey, it could have been simply overcast and cold and it would have been an improvement. We decide that we’ll break on top of Lovewell Mountain and lay out our gear there to dry out. After packing up our still mostly damp gear we stop into the General store yet again for supplies. With Dustin restocked with power bars and me with a couple of root beer sodas we set off down the road. While walking down the road a woman notices us hiking while painting her house. She says hello and asks us how we’re doing. Come to find out it’s Tom’s, who we met in Nelson, wife. And that he and his friend had just finished their journey the night before. She wishes us safe journey on the rest of our trip and we hike on, laughing about how small world that was. The road out of Washington was lined with beautiful homes and camps along Half moon pond and I make a promise that I’ll get back out here in my boat before snowfall.
We turn and head up the old logging road to Lovewell and an ATV guy comes past us with hardly a smile or wave. His social abilities, of course, leads to us saying how much of a douche that guy must be and we laugh about it for the next 10 minutes or so. That was of course, until he turned around and came back. This time stopping and asking us how the trail up over Lovewell was, and how he’d been meaning to hike it but is still recovering from an ankle sprain. Not exactly sure what his deal was the first time by, but he fixed it on his second pass, making Dustin and I think about how often we seem to jump to the worst possible scenario the quickest.
We make a quick hike to the summit of Lovewell and are rewarded with copious amount of sun and an amazing view. After we lay our gear out to dry and scarf down some food, I head over to the vista to see if I can make heads or tails over which way we are looking. I point out where Moose Lookout roughly is, along with the radio towers WAY off in the distance is Sunapee. As we chowed down lunch I saw the largest garden snake i’d ever seen. The thing had to have been 3 feet long, luckily it has as much interest in us as we had it in and it quickly slithered off into the rocks. The backside of Lovewell was a long long stretch of switchbacks. Which to be honest was a relief to me, but the couple coming the other way that we passed ½ way down felt otherwise.
After talking with them briefly I ask how yesterday was for them. The guy said, “it fucking sucked!” This was an exact duplicate of how Dustin had described it a few hours earlier so we got a good laugh out of that. We wish them luck on their journey before we push on and up towards the Max Isreal campsite. It’s not a bad little spot, a nice tent platform, good tree cover, but not so much that you wouldn’t get any sun. After a quick snack and signing the log book we pushed on down the trail to the road. This was great news, it was only 1pm and we were already more than half way to the site. At the bridge over the stream we see a family of mcganzers, the mother barking out orders to her ducklings while they bobbed around in the current. The old logging road climb up to the ridge was an arduous one. Stopping several times to catch our breath and drink some water, but not long enough to be devoured by the mosquitoes.
Once on the ridge it was rolling terrain through old pine forrest. The trial soften and spongy with layers and layers of needles. After where Running Bear trail ties into the Greenway the trail turned into a soupy mess. The previous days rain and the heavier traffic due to Pillsbury State park had done a number on this stretch and every few steps seemed to be in thick tiring mud. When we reached Moose lookout we both let out of a sigh of relief. It was the first day where weather-wise it had been dry all day.
We dump our gear and after consulting the trail guide find that there is a ice cold brook just ahead on the trail. The guide didn't lie, and we were rewarded with the cleanest, coldest water we've had over the course of the hike. After setting up camp we heard someone coming up the trail. Expecting Loni with a bottle of Jameson we were surprised to see 3 younger kids and a dog. Dustin and I exchange glances as we both notice they look relatively disappointed that we got to the shelter first, not that i blame them. As they set up camp one of the guys decides to give a go at lighting his circa 1940 camp stove which provides us with at least an hour of entertainment and a couple of small kerosene fires.
Shortly thereafter Loni arrived just in time to join Dustin and I for dinner. As the sun begins to set the almost full moon is rising in the east and we're lulled asleep to a wonderful whiskey lullaby.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Today was to be our hardest day, the longest day, a grand total of 13.7 miles, over the top of Pitcher, Hubbard, Jackson and Oak Hills. Our backs are already in rough shape as we groan about putting our packs on. Luckily for us it was nice and cool last night and the good nights rest was welcomed. We break camp at 830 and make it to center pond in a hurry to restock our water supplies. From here it’s a long road climb up and out of the ponds basin. At the top of the hill after confronting an old angry dog, we cut across a landowner’s property and slab Parker Hill. On the map at camp there was a marking showing a campsite somewhere in this area, but we never found it. Perhaps it’s a future construction site. This stretch of the trail was fantastic; Rolling single track, log bridges over mud pits and a wonderful brook waterfall.
It’s still early in the morning when we reach the South Pasture of Blueberries. The trail runs us straight through the overgrowth. Either this stretch of trail is rarely passed through, or there was a bypass that we had missed as we bushwhacked our way through the next ¼ mile while chomping down handfuls of blueberries. We reached the base of Pitcher Mountain around 11am. It was later then we had hoped for, and the drizzle was starting to settle in. In hopes to beat the rain and perhaps get a better idea of what was heading our way, we quickly signed into the log book and tried to get to the top as fast as possible. The view from the fire tower was just as un-promising as the view from the parking lot below. The grey clouds above turning darker as you looked towards the west. Dustin snapped a quick photo and sent it to his wife before we pushed on down the trail. The blueberries bushes, soaked by the drizzle doused us every time we brushed up against them. We found that as we came off of Pitcher we were already wet, and the rain had yet to start.
The woods started to rumble as the rain pours down. The leaves providing us shelter as we marched along the amazing single track between the peaks. We popped out onto the road and try to duck under a pine switch to consult the map. We decide we’re going the right way but it’s hard to tell. The rain is falling so hard now that we can only see about 30’ ahead of us. We finally decide to put on our rain gear, but it was too little, too late. The only thing the gear provided us at this point was a shield from the howling wind over the top of Hubbard. I’d stop from time to time to snag a handful of blueberries, but it was hardly what I had envisioned for the day. I was hoping to graze happily in the sun. Now we were hiking over these berry filled peaks in record time, just to return to the woods for some protection.
The long single track off of Hubbard Hill is now a stream, 8” deep in the middle so we dance from trail edge to trail edge to try to stay somewhat dry. I stop, look at Dustin, he looks at me. We both grumble and grunt at the situation, put our heads down and death march on. After the long silent climb up Jackson both notice the same thing. The comment “you know how good of a day it has been and is going to be when your trail blaze is 3 inches under water.”
What a joke, this is insane. The hardest day of the trip and we were going to spend 11 miles of it in torrential downfalls. I laugh like an idiot, give up, and just start splashing through the puddles. I’m already soaked, so I figured I might as well enjoy the ride. I try to snap a few more photos, but the camera gets soaked and then ruined.
After Jackson hill there is a long stretch of snowmobile trail, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t seem to be built in a stream bed. In sections where you could appreciate the natural beauty of the trail, you’d end up finding a sink hole that would swallow your shoe up to your mid calf. By the time we got to the next beaver pond section we had to wade about knee deep 20’ through the water until we got TO the bridge. We were both fried now, talking was at a bare minimum. I was starting to go hypothermic, this isn’t how today was supposed to go. We’d scarf down our food and push on verses stopping at our preplanned break spots. I finally had to sit down and clean out my shoes in front of the First advent church in Washington. A rock carved next to a trail beside the Church caught my eye. I sat in front of it and read while pulling out stone after stone from my shoes. It was called the Sabbath Trail.
The thought and message intregied me. While I’ve never been much for organized religion, feeling that more times then not, it’s just a way to control people, the logic carved onto that rock made sense to me. “…as you commune with him in natures cathedral” It was perfect. The thought of not just driving to church, to sitting there feeling guilty for an hour, and then cursing people out as you try to get out of the parking lot. The thought of actually going for a 1 mile walk in the woods and seeing God all around you, imagine if more people did that? Dustin laughed at my infatuation with the concept and it helped us march down the next 2 miles of road in a pretty timely manner. We both knew when we ducked back into the woods we’d climb over Oak hill and on the decent we’d be at the site. So when the trail turned back into the woods we were relieved. The rain was still falling steadily and we were cold, tired, and wanted to grab some real food from the Washington General store, which we knew closed at 6pm.
Loni had hiked this stretch of trail before and had given us a lot of good pointers, but when we asked her about Oak hill she kind of trailed off in her description. Well it became clear pretty quickly as the trail made a turn and started climbing at a rapid rate. Dustin started to fall behind and I just put my head down and marched on as if it was an ultra. I sat for him on the cairn at the top. When he caught up to me he said “screw calling this oak hill, this is nut hill.” Obviously the climb had been harder for him.
On the decent Dustin comments about how nice the stream sounds next to the trail. I quickly warn him that he shouldn’t say things like this. Twenty feet later, we find the once peaceful bubbling brook was now smack dab in the middle of our trail. Splashing along I can feel my toes going numb. We walk in the brook for a bit before having to cross it, it’s rushing pretty fast and about knee deep. I hand dustin one of my trekking poles and we each use one to get across safely. Oh no, we aren’t done yet, the trail crosses that bloody brook not two, not three, but FOUR times! Camp is a sight for sore eyes, we’re soaked entirely through, at least I was. I dump out the contents of my pack and find that my sleeping bag is pretty wet in the feet area. I can only sigh in disgust. Thankfully we made it into town with enough time to pick up two large pizzas and a 6 pack of beer. After getting back to camp and changing into dry clothes we proceed to consume almost ALL of both pizzas and 4 of the beers before passing out. Before we fall asleep, we are treated to a nice red sunset on the horizon as the last of the clouds just now are finally passing overhead.
Quotes of the Day:
“Camp is a place you come to lick your wounds”
“I havn’t been this wet in the shower”
"imagine hiking this for 30 days, you'd have a mushroom growing out of your ear!"