Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beginning the long road

The lingering winter kept me fired up about climbing and neglecting running.  Not a bad thing says the climber inside me.  The runner in me that plans to run the LHHT "double" this June is saying what the hell partner, you better get those soft legs a little firmer, and right quick.   Since the first of the year I've only been out running several times.  It was time to get training before it gets too late.  Off to the trails I went to shake out the cobwebs...   Here's a couple highlighted runs from the last couple weeks.

March 15th Victor Sousol and I ran a "Gate to 8" on a windy but pleasant day.  This was my first outing with Victor as well as his first time running on the LHHT.  He's signed up to run the 70 mile Laurel Ultra in June and wanted to check out the opening hills and familiarize himself with Ohiopyle a bit before race day.  He managed to stumble onto my blog and decided to email me to see if I'd like to meet and run with him.  I only had time to run Gate to 8 once that morning, but Victor went on to complete a "Gate to 8X2" for a total 32 miles of Laurel training.

March 25th I turned 42.  I thought it would be fun spending my birthday running my age in miles on the LHHT.  Laura dropped me off at Beam's Rock at 7:00 AM for the start of my run.  
Good morning legs
She provided excellent crewing after meeting me at 7 Springs.  She provided me with the normal food and liquids as well as birthday surprises, delights and plenty of laughs along my run to Ohiopyle.   
First aid stop, Seven Springs Ski resort
Crossing the slopes of Seven Springs.  I met several curious folks here
42 and still spry coming into route 653 trail head
Heading out for the last 11 miles from Maple Summit parking lot
It was a chilly 28, with plenty of firm ice on the trail.  I had some knee issues begin during the descent at mile post 8.  They persistently became worse, slowing movement down within a half of a mile.  Descents especially were slowed to a crawl with me going down backwards a large portion of the time.  Laura met me at mile post 3 with a down coat and some much needed support as I was in serious pain by this point.  I successfully limped into town completing my goal.  
Limping past the overlook at mile 2.7
After 2 days of rest, my knees recovered and have felt fine since.  This run doubled my yearly mileage to this point.  Which I'm sure was the cause of the knee swelling and pain.  Even with my 8 miles of snail pace factored in my average pace came out to be 13:35/mile.  A very fun and memorable birthday.  Thanks sweetie!

March 31st  I ran the LHHT again from 653 trail head to Ohiopyle to see if my knees were just adapting to the rapid increase in mileage on my birthday run.  It had snowed about 6" a couple days prior.  The temps rose above freezing turning that fluffy 6" into a sloppy nasty trail mess.  The air temperature was around 50, but my feet were sopping before I even hit the main trail from the blue blazed access trail.  By the time I hit mile post 18 I was debating calling Laura to have her turn around and pick me back up at 653.   The runner in me refused and I put my nose to the grind and slogged the 18 miles to Ohiopyle with only a few miles being snow free, but muddy none the less.  I surprisingly hit the Gate completing my run in 3:18, without any knee pain.  A reasonable time considering the condition of the trail.

In the Hemlocks, my favorite section
Blazing new trail on the LHHT
Sloppy conditions for running
From whence I came.  Bluebird snow day on the trail
April 1st Laura and I had a wonderful "date" run.  She's planning a birthday run on the 16th.  She's going to run from mile post 30 to Ohiopyle while I provide crew for her as she did for me.  We decided to run from the gate to 5 on the LHHT to avoid the snow still present above 2200'.   We had a wonderful sunny day to run together.  We took a couple breaks to enjoy the weather and nature.  We had several Eastern Phoebe's calling at one break and at another we spotted 8 Ruby-crowned Kinglets flying through the tree tops.  Several Monarch's were moving north along the ridge as well.  Spring is definitely making a showing and we were embracing!  What a great way to spend a few hours with your honey...

Spring has Sprung!  See you on the trails...


  1. Hey - if you're down in C'ville give me a call - got you guys something for your "birthdays" - (if ya' don't already have one)


  2. You can surely meet your long lost buddy at the New in a few weeks!!!