Monday, June 16, 2014

Spring Training Part 2: Refocus

My ankle healed fast and I went from hobbling to some careful trail running within a week. Despite the initial swelling and bruising, I seem to have gotten off easy without substantially tearing anything. Being back on my feet helped my mental state immensely and I just kind of let go of the feelings I had for Massanutten; instead refocusing on the upcoming Manitou's Revenge in the Catskills and running in the mountains for it's own sake.

The mountains have held onto their snow cover longer than in recent years, so I stayed local for a while. I'm fortunate to have Bear Brook State Park in my backyard:

Hedgehog Ledge Trail
Feedin' time

Southern White Mountain ranges tend to melt out earlier, so I paid a visit to the Squam Range:

North to Waterville Valley
Mount Morgan
South to the Lakes Region
 A favorite mountain running route of mine is the Mount Osceola from Waterville Valley, by way of Mount Tecumseh. It's a good twenty mile out & back trip with 8,000 feet of gain that's not too far of a drive.

Old Man Winter Lingers...
Neat view into the heart of the Pemi from Osceola
Tripyramids from Osceola
Mighty Mount Tecumseh's Summit
 Then, feeling rather adventurous, I devised a 40+ mile, 17000' gain route to enchain most of the peaks in the Pemi. Things didn't go as planned and I ended up cutting the route short to about 31 miles with only 12000' gain.

Fog and rain on Franconia Ridge
Descending Lincoln Slide
The sun finally comes out on South Twin
North Twin
Birch glades on the abandoned Hale Fire Warden's Trail

My family was out of of town, so I decided to make a full weekend of it. Sunday brought a fun run on Mount Washington, with a side trip to Mount Isolation.

Lakes of the Clouds
Atop Mt. Monroe
Pepperoni on Mount Isolation
A brave bird
The Davis Path
Tuckerman Ravine
Mt. Washington
The new diesel Cog. This one doesn't set the grass on fire.
The Great Gulf
Whether this will influence my performance at Manitou's, I don't know. I've certainly enjoyed myself enough that I'm tempted to just not bother with formal races sometimes. From what I understand, Manitou's will be the first true mountain 50 miler in the East. It's what a race on the Hut Traverse would be like if we could have such nice things. Normally you'd have to go to Pyrenees of the Alps for something like that because so much of the best American terrain is off limits. On top of that, it appears that the field is quite stacked this year; Mikhaylov, Nephew, Welts, Wellford, Ruseiki, all names with strong results and FKTs associated with them. Even in a race that suits my strengths I'm going to have an uphill battle competitively.

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