Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekly Log 15-Sep to 21-Sep-2014: NH bound

I had better get my weekly blog posted, before Beth gets on my case.  (She's like that, you know; let's just hope she gives ample grief to other runners, like those Boumenot and Weller types she sees frequently.)

But first, a carry-over from last week's beach race:
Love this photo collage from the Westerly Sun,
not because I won (the tide will change in Matthew's favor soon enough),
but because it's a father-son combo.

Monday:  0
Rest day.

Tuesday:  0
0 run that is; but I did have a 30-mile ride in the dark, out to Mystic flag pole and back.  Something new for me, but how could I pass up an invite from a soon-to-be colleague to go out for a ride?

Followed up the ride with volunteering with the Westerly Land Trust on their regular Tuesday morning detail.  Today's job was clearing the Grills yellow trail.  A big tree blown down and hanging across the trail took a while for two of us with chainsaws to clear.  After that, mostly pruning over-hanging branches.

Wednesday:  9+
The 9+ miles doesn't really tell the story, but the 4,000+ feet of elevation gain (yes, seriously!) does paint a better picture.  During my unemployment time, I want to make the most of it and one item on my list was to run/hike the tallest peak in New England.  Now I can scratch that off (although it only whetted my appetite for more such adventures).

Followed the weather forecasts closely, and picked the weekday the most feasible.  The day before it snowed 0.7"; the following day was forecast to drop to 17 degrees.  Drove half-way up on Tuesday evening and stayed at a fleabag motel in Manchester.  Now I remember why I don't stay in fleabag motels:  sketchy locales, dirty corridors and rooms, disconcerting smells. Out the door by 4am, I found a Dunkin closed and an adjacent McDonald's open 24 hours.  A cheese and egg bagel and an OJ seemed innocuous enough.  Now I remember why I don't eat at McDonald's:  bagel tasted terrible, and some odd sauce leaked out and onto my shorts, and the OJ was tasteless and obviously from concentrate.
Today's chosen route

Start of the trail was
the most runnable;
my strategy was to hike the
steep parts and run the rest
(able to run about 60-70%
going up; about 99% down)

Still quite runnable,
just a bit slower watching
the footsteps carefully

Having consulted my brother Kurt on solo hiking in the White Mountains, he suggested I avoid the Tuckerman Ravine trail alone, so I found another trailhead where I could make a loop, just 1/2 mile below the Cog Railway station.  Got underway just before 7am.  37 degrees at the start.  The grade for the first two miles averaged 9%, and I could get into a rhythm running the trail.  Ran past a group of 4 hikers speaking Russian early on; they pulled over to let me by, but I couldn't think of the Russian word for "thank you" until well past them.

Appropriately named "Gem Pool" at
Mile 2.1.  After this, the 3rd mile
averaged a 30% climb, which
meant almost no opportunity for
me to run.

Lake of the Clouds Hut - Mile 3.1
(Had originally planned to overnight here, but timing just didn't work out)

 Just as I got above treeline, the Lake of the Clouds Hut came in to view.  I went in the main door to take a break and check out the cabin.  Overnight hikers had just finished their breakfast, and were getting dressed to go out for a hike in the 31-degree weather.  They were putting on heavy winter parkas, hats, thick ski gloves, gaiters over their long hiking pants, etc., and gave me some strange looks as I strolled in wearing ... you got it... shorts and a short-sleeve tech shirt.  "Are you OK?" and "Where did you come from?" were questions asked.  I explained where I started from, but they seemed dubious as they said that was a 3 1/2 hour hike and I would have had to start at 4:30am in the dark.  When I showed them my elapsed time of 61 minutes, they believed me and one said "3 1/2 hours is for normal people" - I think that was a compliment?

After a 15-minute break at the hut, it was time for the final
1.4 mile ascent to the summit.  Had to stop a number of times
to try to make out the next cairn in the thick fog.
With an average 18% grade, I could resume running, but at a very
slow pace.  (Disclosure:  continuously jumping from rock-to-rock
constitutes "running" for my purposes)
 The best quote of the day came during this final ascent, when I ran uphill on the rocks passing two hikers.  One hiker said to the other, "Rich, if you want to call yourself a man, you'll get behind this guy (gesturing to me) and follow right behind him all the way to the summit!".  I chuckled.  Rich didn't.

Proof - I made it!  Just as the fog was dissipating and it started to warm up.

Hung around the summit for a while, and then time to head back (picked a different descent to mix it up)
By now, the sun was full out and the scenery was just gorgeous!

One of the best parts:
I was already on my way down before the first tourists
would arrive on the Cog and Auto Road
 Thursday:  13
- AM 10 mile loop from Mom's house in Richmond.  Happy to mix it up with a different route than usual on nice country roads, but boy are my legs sore!   Can't imagine why.
- PM 3-mile easy beach run.  Legs are still sore, but I can't pass up a run on the beach and jump in the ocean on such a beautiful sunny warm day.

Friday:  0
Complete shut down.  Legs really sore.

Saturday:  6
Easy paced local road and beach shake-out.  Highlight was a "feel good" moment stopping to help an elderly couple (no, it wasn't the Boumenots) with directions.  Close second was moon jellies on the beach.

Sunday:  Pisgah 23K.  Write-up to follow shortly.

Mileage totals:
Run:  48
Bike:  30


  1. Nice shots from Mt. Washington. White Mountain adventures are the best!

  2. Awesome Wednesday, Gazelle! As for the newspaper pics, I like Matthews' form better. Just sayin'....

  3. Freaking amazing!! WAY COOLER than the Auto Road... Love the fact the fog cleared up for you at the summit! So jealous!!! I loved the run up the auto road and am looking forward to hiking in the Whites. Guess I have to keep up with you and run them! Well done. And future co-worker?? What did I miss???

  4. Impressive ascent up Mt. Washington!!! Great use of some down time, and something that's definitely on my bucket list...well done!