A passion for trail running, ultras, mountaineering, snowshoeing, hiking, and other outdoor adventures

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Training Week #14 and 41 Mile Training Run in Harriman

Overview:  This will be probably end up being my peak week in terms of time on feet, or pretty close to it.  This despite the fact that my legs felt pretty beat up after solo speadwork Tues. and then a leg session on Wed., leading me to get a much-needed but unscheduled massage on Thursday that was really helpful and then an unplanned rest day Friday which proved smart. (Same issue of soreness in the quads, especially upper right where it attached to hip.)  A well-rounded week, and the Harriman 41 mile run (most of it solo) was the highlight.  More on that one below.

Week Ending April 8 by the Numbers

Runs:  4

Total Time on Feet: 14:47

3-Week Moving Average: 12:48

Yoga:  one Vinyasa class
Strength:  one upper/core, one leg-specific

Speed:  6 halves on Bridle Path in C.P. (solo)

Massage:  1


Harriman looong training run on Sat. 4/7:  41 miles in 11:42.  My longest single training run for this cycle, or ever, that wasn't done in context of "training through a race."  It was a beautiful day, as I lucked out with weather.  Maybe got into low 60s, sunny, air still cool.  The company was great, as I did the first 15 miles with Chip, Lesley, and Garth.  They helped me pre-position water and goodies at two spots as my "aid stations" along the way.

We did the first 15/16 miles of the Bear MountainTNF 50K/50M course to the aid station right before a road crossing just above Tiorati Circle, where we had left Paul's car before our shutle.  I continued on from there.  The plan was to do an out and back along the 50M course, which starts out along the Long Path.  Even thought I know that section, the trail became murky, and blazes hard to follow, and the going is very slow those first few miles as it's swampy (though it was extremely dry in the park, so much so that a brush fire erupted a few days later in the Anthony Wayne/West Mountain section of the park).  So after maybe a half to 2/3 of a mile of that, I elected to turn back.  When I hit the road again, I realized I could jump back on the LP in the other direction, then circle around and do the section we'd done together, coming back into the "aid station" to restock the water, and gather up the gels and crush the bottles.  Fortunately, there was a dumpster down in Tiorati Circle where I could get rid of trash, which was a nice discovery as I didn't relish carrying the stuff for another 5 hours or so!

It wasn't as hard as sometimes in training in past years to do the little bushwhack from Tiorati to find the R-D trail. From there I followed the course on to Anthony Wayne.  I like that section a lot, and made fairly decent time.  Then re-stocked water and food (having way more food than I needed!) there and managed to find a trash can to dispose of wrappers and the plastic bottles.  It was a little tricky to locate the southbound trails from AW from the cryptic TNF turn by turns as there are several parallel trails on the Trails Conference map. But I eventually got to where I wanted to be and was on my way to what is the Queenborough A.S. on the course.  Only thing is, there is a tricky unblazed trail called "Pines" turning off the SBM trail to get there.  It forked in one place, with neither fork blazed or marked.  And I never saw the fireplace indicated on the map at the junction where I should have turned.  As I kept following a trail that seemed to become more indistinct, I realized I was getting pretty turned around.  At this point in the SE quadrant of the AW section of Harriman, you don't have sightlines really in any direction to orient you.  But then I saw the road off to what I took to be the east, and opted to run out of the park onto it to get my bearings before re-entering.  I only had a couple hours of daylight left, and no time for trying to bushwhack my way 6 miles or more back to the car!

To make a very long story short.....after one failed foray back into the park ended in another unblazed section as I tried in vain to re-connect with the TNF course (the course relies on a number of unblazed sections on seldom-used trails)...I ran back out of the park through someone's backyard....after trying in vain to use the GPS navigation app on my I-phone and it kept telling me to run in the opposite direction...after getting directions from a man restraining a very angry dog on the stoop of his house with the big "beware of dog" sign (was I in Appalachia?!)...after he sent me back along the road in the direction I came and stared at me real strange when I said I wanted to RUN to the Bear Mountain Inn (some 8, 9 miles distant where I had parked my car some 8 hours before)....after 2 other kind folks playing with kids in their back yards confirmed I was heading the right way as I hightailed it along pretty rural to residential streets that were quite hilly and told them I wanted to get to 9W and then head north...I finally located said 9W and then managed to dodge its traffic and fast-moving cars, mostly run and occasionally powerhike its massive hills, see Indian Point reactor across the Hudson and know I was headed the right way, and then wonder just when in the hell I'd round the bend of the twisty river and actually see the Bear Mountain bridge....

Well, all in all, it was a little over 10 miles and around two hours that I put in on the road to finally get back to the car!  All the while, getting texts from Garth wondering if I was done and if I was alright and then asking if he should call the cavalry!  Getting frantic calls from my mom wondering when and if I'd finish!  And calling Esperanza to let her know I was going to make it to the car by twilight!  Fortunately, I had plenty of food and water, felt fine, was able to crank out 10-12 minute miles on some pretty steep pavement after being on my feet all day, and kept my wits about me and just kind of took it as another challenge even as my heart was racing at times.  If I got myself into that mess on two legs, I sure was going to get myself out of it on two legs, and that I did!

If, as they say,finishing a 100 miler is all about "solving problems" as so many things can and will go wrong along the way, then this was sure great practice!  And the silver lining was that the extra time on the road added up to more miles than if I'd managed to stay on the trails (and I might not have had the mental energy to add on a few extra trail miles as I got closer to finishing as I had intended).  So I managed to make my goals of 40 miles, and 10 hours-plus...and then some!

All in all, quite an adventure, and not a bad day's training!

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