Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hill Repeats on a Mountain Trail = Not My Brightest Idea

Last Monday, I woke up with a sore throat. Right when I needed to be buckling down to train for my first trail 10K, the North Face Endurance Challenge, my body went on strike. Great.
On Wednesday, when I was scheduled to do 6-8 hill repeats, I came home after work, exhausted, and packed for a 7:30am flight to New Hampshire. I had decided sometime during the day that hill repeats weren't going to happen. Instead, I'd try them in New Hampshire the next day, on a trail.
The trail goes uphill. Definitely not flat. And 
all rock.
Great idea, right? I'd get in my workout and climb a hill. Uhm, hill repeats on a New Hampshire trail was a dumb idea. Or at least on this particular trail. My trail of choice was the Winslow Trail up to the summit of Mt. Kearsarge in Merrimack County. Like nearly every trail in New Hampshire, it has more than its fair share of granite. I ran for nearly a tenth of a mile before slowing to what can be most charitably described as vigorous stairmastering.
So I didn't do hill repeats. I did, however, pass four people (five, if you count the infant being carried in a pack) on the way up, and I left the summit before they arrived. Given that I regularly struggled up slopes that were 1,000 feet of elevation gain over a mile while I lived in Seattle, I was amazed at how easily I cruised up the Winslow Trail, even though my cold and allergies had me wheezing. Yay.

Roughly 39 minutes after leaving the parking lot, I was treated to this:

And this:
On the way back down, I opted for the slightly longer Barlow Trail in hopes that it would have a lower pitch, and therefore, be more runnable and not have huge slabs of wet rock.
Again, the views were awesome. 
And then I wended back into the trees. 
Somewhere in here is a trail. Or creek.
In general, it wasn't easy for me to run down until the last quarter mile of the trail, when the conditions dried out. It had rained in New Hampshire for the last week, and while I'm not afraid of stepping into mud, running through mud where there may be buried roots or rocks, and sliding on wet rocks is not my cup of tea. I'm not sure what that says for my trail running prowess!

After this Herculean effort on Thursday, I enjoyed a Friday rest day and bailed on my Saturday longer run because I was exhausted. So exhausted that I slept for 11 hours on Sunday and only got out of bed because I thought that was the responsible thing to do. And because I had to teach yoga in the afternoon.

With any luck, the cold will go away this week, and I won't have lost too much fitness. Fingers crossed, at least!

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