Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday's a running day

Saturday's run made for a long day in general. With The Ring's 71 mile run coming up in 4 weeks, I wanted to make sure I got in some good miles especially on sections of the trail that aren't part of the MMT 100 mile trail run.

We left DC a little later than we had intended, so I didn't get on the trail until 8:50am. The plan was to run from Veach Gap down to Camp Roosevelt for a total of about 18 miles. My GF was going to park at Camp Roosevelt and hike with her dog down the Massanutten Trail (Duncan Hollow) to the Gap Creek Trail to aid station 7/11 on the map. From there, she'd take Crisman Hollow Road back up to her car. I figured the trail would be relatively flat leaving Camp Roos, along water for the dog to play in and hopefully not too overgrown. I knew the climb up and over Catback Mountain would kick her butt, but didn't realize how overgrown the trail was.

I started at the Veach Gap Trail just off of Route 678. The MMT race accesses the MMT trail from 613 on the other side of the ridge via the Tuscarora Trail, which is #3 on the map. I started near #3, but on the other side of the ridge, and then followed it down to #6. I stayed on the ridge the entire time instead of veering off to the road as the MMT course does. The plan was do the run in 6-7 hours. I ran scared a few times since I mentally calculated incorrectly that it would take me 8 hours. I sure didn't want to be on the trail, or on my feet, that long.

I stopped and slowed numerous times to take pictures. The area is just gorgeous. I had a small flock of pheasants fly out of the brush in front of me, a deer run away from the trail, and hawks circling above. I also had to run with a stick in my hand to knock down spider webs spun across the trail. A handful of times I didn't see the web in time and felt like Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." I can almost still feel the stringiness on me. I think I surprised a small group of campers on the trail where it intersects with the Habron Gap trail, but quickly passed by as I wasn't sure if they were friends or foe and didn't want to stick around long enough to find out.

The trail looked unfamiliar at times on sections where I have run before. It was so lush and green. Even on the new parts, it was the same ol' Massanutten trail filled with rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I was excited to finally get to Kennedy Peak Observation tower (2,500 ft), but saddened to see someone basically camping there. Like the earlier campers, I didn't want to stick around long enough to find out if he was a good guy or bad guy, so I took my pictures a little further down the trail. I had sent my GF a text with an update on my status (reception was great up there), and said (before going up toward Kennedy Peak) that I’d be back in a max of 90 minutes. It was 2pm at that point and I took my time the rest of the way and got back in a total time of 6:25.

I have some videos and pictures from the trek that I hope to post soon.

All in all, it was a good day. After a quick tick check (only one on my sock), I changed, got a little bit to eat, and we were on our way back to DC. The times you just want to be home seem to make for the longest rides. Murphy's Law held true as we were stuck in traffic on 66 due to an accident. Wanting even more to get home at this point, we jumped onto 50E to pick up 495S for the Wilson Bridge. Sure enough, we got stuck Redskins traffic going to the game, and spent nearly 45 minutes trying to go 8 miles. It was frustrating as we were both tired and wanted nothing more than to be home, showered, and in bed, relaxing after a good, long day on the trails.

I feel more confident on the trail as my weekly mileage increases. I have plans to run more of Massanutten next weekend with a proposed route of Camp Roosevelt down to the connector, then up Waterfall and Kerns to Moreland Gap. I'm trying to convince myself to continue over Short Mountain to Edinburg, which was the beginning of the end for me at MMT, but might save it for race day. I'd like to end training the following weekend with Woodstock to Elizabeth Furnace with a possible trek up Shawl Gap to the Massanutten Trail before descending down Sherman Gap trail. That would leave me two weeks of taper and much needed time away from the trail after covering about 90% of the course three of the five weekends before the race. I am happy with that total and how things are going so far, and only hope the good can carry over to the day of the race.


At 3:13 PM, Blogger The Wigan Crossfitter said...

Wow! That's what I call a workout.

I really don't like running. I'm short and heavy and hoo.


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