Sunday, July 8, 2007

Crystal Moutain 23 miles

Current Mile total: 814.25 miles

I'm hanging up my street sneaks, and getting myself a pair of trail running shoes with spats!
Well, maybe not entirely, but man oh man.

Crystal mountain was spectacular. We started out at about 2500 ft(I think) and climbed all the way up to 5700 ft. The run took just over 6 hours. I hitched a ride up with Kathleen and we started out with about 20 other runners. I think we probably ran for about a mile on relatively even ground before it headed up. And up is an understatement. I couldn't get the smile off my face as we climbed. It was crazy, and I was just thinking, "I'm running this?" It got so steep at one point we had to climb a staircase. I took my camera, so I had a great excuse for all the times I needed to catch my breath. And I took a lot of pics. Not as many as I'd like. I could have spent all day up there but I didn't want to hold up the line.

Eventually it was just Kathleen and myself running as a team. Most of the other runners were with another group who were in their peak week of training for another 50 miler on this very course coming up later in the month. So we just climbed, and climbed, and I think we did some more climbing after that. In total I think we climbed for over 3 and a half hours, possibly 4. The views were just breath-taking. I used to love hiking in the white mountains back in NH and now I was getting to do the same thing but combine it with my love of running. I don't think there was one moment of this run when I didn't have a huge grin on my face.

Nearly as long a marathon, and certainly more challenging than any I've ever done, I felt positive the entire time and strong. It just proves the point that running is mostly psychological. If you just stay positive your body will carry you along.

Where was I? Oh, we were climbing. So we climbed some more. We climbed so high that we came across patches of snow. IT WAS AWESOME!! When we finally got to the top Scott was waiting with lots of food. I practically dove for the watermelon. After two pieces of that I went for a quarter of a bagel, then half of a PB&J sandwich, then some BBQ chips, then a twizzler, oh, and a bit of Coke. If you wanted it there was also orange slices and bananas but seeing as I've never had any food during a race aside from goo and an occasional orange slice I felt it smart to stop there. But boy did it feel good to have a feast at the top of the mountain. We hung out for a while and chatted it up with Scott but had to eventually get moving back down. This part was much easier, mostly downhill from here. Just 9 more miles. We took it slow at first so that the food could digest a bit but then picked it up when it was nothing but downhill and about 6 miles to go. Gravity pretty much took care of the job the rest of the way and for the most part it was easy. I have to admit that I was starting to get a little beat up and fatigued by the end. But when we finished I really felt strong and in great spirits. again, more watermelon waiting for us. Now Scott suggested we head down to the White river and stand in it for a few minutes to give our legs an ice bath. The river is about 34 degrees. My legs were fine with the experience but my feet really hurt. Of course, after a couple minutes they went numb and the pain went away. It the next day as I write this and my legs are not sore at all. I'm looking forward to that ice bath next week when we go up and do the second half of the course.

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