Mountains? What mountains? With just under 4 months until Mountain Masochist I thought maybe the trails and I should get reacquainted :) Actually, it's been a great week for trail running. Three runs in one week on the trails must be a record for me (sad, but true).
The hubby and I set out for Giles Co to check out a new section of the Appalachian Trail (for me at least). With a quick pit stop at his PT clinic, we dropped off our post-run meals and drove halfway up the mountain to the trail head.
|Starting point... and me procrastinating per usual :)|
The initial climb was quite a challenge! 16% grade and 1600+ feet in elevation gain in approximately 2 miles according to my Garmin. It felt like we were running straight up and the trail was narrow and very rocky at times. We took our time... honestly I hate warming up running up the side of a mountain and my calves hate it even more. But, I took it in stride more so than usual and stayed pretty close to the hubby. He also walked quite a bit which made me feel better, but then again he may have just been waiting for me, haha.
|Taking in the view at the top: Angel's Rest. What you don't see is me clinging to the rock in fear of getting too close to the edge... I'm definitely afraid of heights!|
|Gorgeous view overlooking Pearisburg.|
|About a half mile down the trail at a different overlook.|
The rest of the run was pretty smooth sailing comparatively. The trail was very run-able with rolling hills along the ridge line. Though it was still VERY humid, the temperature felt a good 10 degrees cooler on top of the mountain (thankfully). We encountered varied terrain and my favorite section was a mile long tunnel of overgrown rhododendrons. You know it's pretty narrow when this shorty has to duck and run.
Closer to the halfway point, the trail became pretty rocky and technical. I loved it other than the fact that they were pretty wet and slick. I took it a little slower than normal... I was in the mood to stay upright!
Just past the halfway mark proved to be the roughest section for the day. We hit a ~1.5 mile uphill section just before mile 12 and I could tell my energy levels were dropping. Jordan too looked like he was about to fall asleep. Ok, I was a little worried we had ventured out too far at this point. We had just turned around and had a long return trip home, but I pushed the calories a little more perked right up. The ever-so-wise hubby told me that I'd have a 2nd, 3rd and probably a 4th wind to carry me through the distance. He was right and we took turns leading for a while. With roughly an hour to go though we both ran out of water... definitely not ideal considering the buckets of water I'd been loosing all day. Like I said, I'm glad it felt much cooler at the top of the mountain.
|One last moment at the ove-look before making the final descent back down the mountain.|
I'm so incredibly happy with this run! I think the hubby was a bit surprised that I kept up pretty well and didn't complain even once :) I felt pretty relaxed, strong, steady and enjoyed the hours of bouncing along through the woods. My legs held up nicely and my fueling went much better than usual (minus being slightly under-fueled and running out of water... ok, not perfect yet). Though I'll have to cover more than double the distance in November, this leaves me with a bit more confidence regarding my ability/desire to cover 50 miles. The hubs and I worked well together and I'm SO thankful for his company... Some days I love the solitude of being out there by myself but I'm much happier with him by my side!