Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Steady Run

Yesterday was very nice weather and a good run.  Today, it was a little warmer, but still supposed to be nice.  Tomorrow, it might rain again, so I had to run today.  I headed to South Mountain (Lehigh) in the evening.  The plan was to run the longer loop.

Although it was still decent weather, I wisely took off the singlet and went shirtless.  It was quite humid.  I was sweating a bit by the end.  At least it was in the low 80s or upper 70s.

Rather than finish the loop with the add on section, I decided to start with it.  That meant warming up with a half mile or so of pavement and downhill running to the trail.  I ran 6 days last week, plus the first day of this week.  I could feel that in my legs as I started.  I haven't run that many days in quite some time.

I was going nice and slow, as I hoped to run this entire time.  I found the trail easily.  However, I messed up early on, but things worked out fine.  I wanted to run the downhill switchbacks and then back up.  Instead, I ended up higher up, running mostly on a ridge.  I was going the right direction though and figured that I would eventually connect with the trail I was looking for.  This part was very rocky and there were still a lot of leaves from last fall.  Finding the trail was tricky in spots.

I connected with the main trail and shortly after that saw a mountain biker waiting for me.  I had not noticed him.  I rarely see anyone when I run here.  There was some tough short climbs here, but I picked my way up them very slowly.  Like yesterday, slow and steady was the goal.  Going up, I take small steps and run in a straight line, rather than going side to side.  It works well.

Along the ridge, a deer ran to the trail and paused and stared at me.  I tried to take its photo, but it ran off.  It continued on the trail though and stopped a looked back again.  I got a photo this time, but it wasn't good.  Then, the deer ran off.

I connected back up with the regular trail somewhere around 1.5 miles.  That was solid.  I crossed the road and ran along.  Things are starting to get overgrown here, with all the recent rain.  I'm not sure how much longer I want to run here.

Again, I was steady up the decent climb after that.  It became quite challenging by the top.  My breathing was labored and my legs burning a bit.  I just focused right in front of me and kept going.

I had a little recovery before the gradual climb.  Knowing the trail was a big help with getting through this next part.  I knew I had a lot of downhill afterward, so I was able to climb slowly.

Now, it was back to descending and going through some of the technical stuff.  I was okay, but not great on the technical stuff today, for some reason.  I got scared by a jeep on the dirt road nearby.  Maybe it was Lehigh Police.

I came to the road in no time and then ran out to the view.  I was approaching the final long, climbing section.  At least I knew this part wasn't steep.  The first part was slightly, but then it leveled out.

After that, I came to another trail runner, maybe a Lehigh student.  I almost never see anyone there and a trail runner is even more rare.  Sometimes, there are mountain bikers.  I don't think I've ever seen two separate people on these trails during the same run.

I then was back to climbing steadily again.  This was two good, long but moderate climbs.  I made my way up both without too much trouble.  The slow pace was a big help.  I then popped out on the road.

I was almost done, but I had one more cruel climb left.  I went up the paved stairs for maybe 100 feet or so.  That was a struggle by the end, but I successfully ran the whole way.

I got to my car with about a quarter mile to 6 miles.  I looped the parking lot to get to that point.  This added some slight elevation too.

My legs are definitely getting tired now.  This was a good workout though and I was quite happy.  If only the cool weather would stay around. 

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'll do.  I'd love to join the folks doing track workouts at Nazareth.  I'd probably run the hill on the side over and over.  However, they get up so stinking early.  We shall see.

6 miles - 1:09:51 (11:39 pace) 655 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Finally A Quality Run

Summertime for me means do whatever I can.  My body can't handle much, so I don't run long or fast.  It seemed like ages since I could last run for awhile on a challenging course.  The summer weather just destroys me.

After the rain yesterday, we had a cloudy and cool day.  I was beyond thrilled with that.  I wore a singlet and of course that and my shorts were still soaked by the end of the run, but I can deal with this weather.  I think it was probably in the low 70s when I started in the evening.

I hate running Trexler when the sun is beating down, because it is so open.  The cloud cover and setting sun was perfect.  The only problem was that I forgot my trail shoes at home and had to turn around on the highway.  I already knew doing one long loop there was pushing the limits of daylight.  I didn't want to wear a headlamp either.  I figured I'd just trek through the dark at the end if needed.  I've run there enough and it isn't too technical, so I could manage.

My goal for this run was to run slowly and run as much of the hills as I could.  I was able to do a great job with this goal.  I started off slow from the Environmental Center and picked my way up the new section.  I ran that and then by the bison (none were out).

I felt good.  I knew the legs were strong and have been for months.  They almost never even get a workout any more.  Instead, I can't breathe and my body just overheats and falls apart.  My legs are so far ahead of everything else.  All the elevation I've been doing for months has strengthened them like never before.

I went easy up the long gradual climb.  Going into the open field section without any sun was glorious.  Near the great view, rays of the sun were coming through the clouds though.  It was a beautiful sight.

The next section, as I headed toward the big hill, frustrated me.  With all the rain, things are getting very overgrown.  I had to duck numerous branches.  Worse that than, I ran into a bunch of spiderwebs.  I had to put my hand in front of me to try to block them out.  I looked like I was doing the Tomahawk Chop.

I was still running this entire time.  I ran over the two false hills, as I headed toward the grandaddy of them all.  I knew running this would likely be tough.  I ran the bottom 2/3rds, but I didn't want to risk pushing too much.  My breathing was labored and the legs were burning.  It was too early to go hard.

The short hike was a good workout too.  I got back to running and ran slowly up that next hill.  These two back to back are usually killer.  Today, they didn't get to me at this steady effort.  I was taking short strides up the steep hills.

I then turned off to the next section.  I haven't run this since there was snow on the ground.  It was tough to run uphill then.  Today, I was able to do it with my slow pace.  My breathing was slightly labored, but it never got too bad.  I was surprised that I could run this section.  It like a lot of the trail had high grass that concerned me (potential ticks).

A part I ran in the winter is now overgrown.  I took a different way.  I then had the option to take the white trail downhill.  This is a steep descent.  People rave about the Broken Arrow Trail, so I decided to try to find that instead.

The Broken Arrow Trail is a switchback down the side.  It is made by the mountain bikers and looks like a lot of fun for them.  I did enjoy it.  However, it seemed like it added nearly another mile to the already long run.  I didn't really have time for that.

At the bottom, I crossed over and got to the Elk Trail.  This one is very steep, long and challenging.  When it is even cooler, I wonder if I can run it all.  I didn't try hard enough today.  When it got tough (early on), I just hiked, rather than push through.  That took awhile.

Although I was feeling good, my biggest concern for not being too aggressive was food and water.  I had no nutrition with me and only my handheld water bottle.  In warm conditions, the water is only good for about 4 miles.  Today, it was cooler, but I was still stretching it.  I knew there was a good chance I would bonk.

I coasted down the Elk Trail after the climb.  I was happy to be doing this descent in daylight.  It has some interesting rocks and roots that would've been an issue without a headlamp.  I got to the bottom and crossed over the creek on the bridge.

I noticed that due to the high water, the Ford was closed to cars.  I ran along the gravel for a short bit.  Then, it was on to the next climb.  I was struggling a little now, but I pushed on up anyway.

A shortcut that I normally take is now overgrown.  I had to keep going up and that broke me near the top.  I didn't have much longer, so I guess I should've kept going.  Instead, I hiked the last bit.

Now, it was some easy running.  That was a nice break.  I was happy at how light out it still was.  I wanted to run as much as I could while I still had the light.

I crossed the road and did the next gradual climb.  In the heat, I have to hike this.  Being steady today, it wasn't an issue.  I made it to the top and kept going.  I ran along for awhile and then crossed the bridge over the creek.

Next, it was the last long climb.  I can run this sometimes, so today I was unsure.  I made it most of the way and just decided hiking was a better option near the top.  It does flatten out a little, but still goes up.

I ran the jeep road along KidsPeace.  One of their vehicles drove by.  I knew I was close to an 11 minute pace, so I pushed a little here.  Still, I just wanted to remain consistent.

I ran all of the rolling hills, as the sun was setting.  It was now clear that I had enough daylight to finish.  The last rolling hill wasn't easy, but I managed.  Three separate deer jumped across the trail within less than a mile in this stretch.

I cruised on down to the final road crossing.  I kept pushing after the road, although it was uphill and really tiring me out now.  I was surprised that I had not crashed yet.  What a difference some cooler weather makes for me.

I passed some young hikers going downhill near the finish.  They were the only hikers I saw all day.  I was coming up and it was a chore to keep running.  If it weren't for the fact that this was the last climb, I would've hiked.

I ran all the way in to the parking lot.  I finished up at my car, just before sunset.  I was so thrilled with the workout.  Although my legs were nowhere near their limit, I was finally able to push them some and run most of the uphills.  I've run faster times here, both when I was faster and it was cooler, but I'm happy with this one.  This is the first time I've taken the route like this, so it is a PR.

It is supposed to be cool again tomorrow, so I might have to take advantage.  I'd love to run 10 miles or more somewhere again.  Maybe I'll go to Mt. Tammany and try three loops.  It is clear that all those loops have been paying off when strengthening my legs, even if it is mostly hiking.  If only my breathing could get in the ballpark of my leg strength.

10.89 miles - 1:59:16 (10:57 pace) 1696 feet of elevation gain 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

First Musconetcong Gorge Preserve Run

It was pouring rain all day today.  Luckily, there were no thunderstorms though.  I had to run, but also keep it relatively short.  I just didn't know where to go.

I have this hiking blog that I often use to find places to go.  I wasn't really searching, but for some reason I clicked on a place and it wasn't too far away.  I headed to the Musconetcong Gorge Preserve.  It seemed ideal, as it was a relatively short loop.

I headed out with a sleeveless shirt, but also my rain shell.  I wore a visor too.  It was cool, but I got a little hot with all that on.  I was glad I wore that gear though, as I did get quite wet.  The tree cover helped, but I was still soaked by the end.

It was a little tricky for me to find the parking area.  I thought it was bigger lot.  It was on a stone road, but luckily not washed out.  I had a map of the place, but apparently the blazes are different colors than on the map.  I figured it was short enough to not get lost.  I had briefly looked at the map, so I had a rough idea of where I was going.

I decided to take the downhill trail from the start, rather than the uphill one.  This was a fun and smooth singletrack for about a mile.  I was cruising along.  I enjoyed the run in the rain.  I find running in the rain, especially on trails to be fun.  This was the perfect place for it too.

It wasn't long and I came to the stream.  It has small waterfalls and the trail crossed over the rocks.  It was gorgeous and already more than I had expected.  I ran along on the other side of the stream.

This was more fun singletrack.  It was mostly along a ridge.  It was a little overgrown in spots and I think had some poison ivy.  Hopefully, I didn't get any.

There was a stone path below that I could've taken.  That looked like no fun though.  Instead, I took the white blazed singletrack.  This is a switchbacking climb.  I never anticipated it would be as steep as it was.  With the steepness, the rocks and mud, it was tough to run up much of it.  I mostly hiked.  There were some cool stair sections here and there too.  It was fantastic.

After quite a few switchbacks, I finally made it to the top.  I could go right to complete the loop, but that would be relatively short.  Instead, I decided on some short out and back to the left.  I was on the NJ Highlands Trail, running along the upper ridge. 

This was a mix of running and hiking.  I had to be careful not to fall on the narrow and wet ridge.  I didn't go too far out and then I headed back.

This run was so slow because it was so beautiful.  I stopped for a ton of photos.  It was fairly rocky and technical at times.  I got an awesome picture of a big mushroom on the trail.

As I approached the stream from the top, I came to a giant boulder near the trail.  That was quite cool, but it didn't look like it was too easy to get to.  Right before getting down to the stream was a steep descent. 

The upper stream area was also stunning.  A lot of water was rushing down.  There was a trail down the side of the gorge and I want to explore it more in the future.  For now, I crossed the water and headed for home.

Much to my surprise, another runner came down the hill at the stream crossing.  He asked me the direction the trail went.  I didn't see anyone else out there all day.  Figures that the only person on the trail would be a runner.  I definitely need to explore more of the stream in the future.

Coming up from the stream was a stunning singletrack climb.  It was just more ridge running from then until the finished.  I enjoyed doing that though.  I was finished somewhere between 4 and 5 miles.

This place was far more than I could've imagined.  It was beautiful and also packed a challenging climb into a short run.  I will without a doubt be back here again.  What a hidden gem that is so close by.  The only downside is how small of an area it is.  I went from thinking, "this is a pretty cool local place" in the beginning of the run, to "this is a pretty cool place, period" by the end of it.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping the rain will have passed.  Then, I'll get in a decent day.  Maybe I'll trek up to Mt. Tammany.  I don't know.  I'd like to at least hit double digit miles and get some technical running in.

4.90 miles - 1:12:24 (14:47 pace) 674 feet of elevation gain

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wind Gap Evening AT Run

I didn't have time to run yesterday.  I had to get out there today.  I planned to run in the evening.  The plan was just a short run of about an hour.

I headed up to Wind Gap to run on the AT.  After going there last weekend for the run with Scott Jurek, I realized I need to get there more often.  It has some decent elevation and also some good technical running.  I don't go there enough.

It was a nice evening.  However, I still ran without a shirt.  I was sweating a bit by the end too.  I'd take this weather all summer for sure though.

I began by heading southbound.  My watch didn't find a signal initially, but then I got one.  I wanted to go this direction because it has switchbacks.  I ran them over the few hundred foot climb in the snow of the winter.  I hoped I could run up it today, but I wasn't sure.

At first, it didn't look like I'd be able to climb without resting.  I was going easy, but my breathing was very labored.  However, as I got used to it, the climb was better.  I was able to slowly pick my way up.

I ran the entire way up.  This is a great place for me to do hill repeats and I need to get here more often.  I might try to start coming every week.

I had to hike the super rocky section on the ridge, when I got to the top.  I saw a hiker above there and another one earlier.  He was glad to know he was nearly to Wind Gap.  This isn't a fun section when you are thru hiking.

I had some trouble with the rocks when I got back to running.  The issue was that they suck and the setting sun made it hard to see them too.  I ran when I could.  I stumbled a few times though.

I had planned to go out 1.5 miles.  However, I was enjoying the ridge running.  I kept going until things got rocky.  That was around 1.8 miles.  It was good to be heading back.

One other thing I didn't like is that parts of the trail had some slight overgrowth.  I was worried about rubbing up against them and possibly getting ticks.  However, I didn't find any.

It was fun to get to the switchbacks and cruise downhill.  I enjoyed that and was back to my car fairly quickly.  Since the run was slow, I knew I'd only get about 4 miles.

I was slightly under than, so I headed northbound.  That would give me some slight climbing.  I didn't make it all the way to top, before turning around.  I finished up the quality short run over 4 miles.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to run.  However, I don't know what it will bring.  There is going to be a lot of rain.  I might have to take a zero day or maybe just do a short, easy run.

4.09 miles - 1:03:29 (15:32 pace) 716 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Another Tough Tammany Run

I haven't had a quality run in days.  I needed to get to Mt. Tammany.  I arrived about mid afternoon.  I figured that by this time, I'd just run 2 loops.

The weather was better for sure.  For me, that doesn't mean much at all.  Even with lower humidity, I still suffer.  Part of the issue here is that the Red Dot Trail doesn't have a lot of shade.  My shorts were completely soaked by the top of the first summit.

I knew it was going to be a struggle when I went to take some pictures by the beach.  I jogged up some stairs and didn't have it.  I don't think I fueled well enough during lunch.  I felt crappy from the start.

I ran the usual early part.  Then, I hiked the first rocky section.  I knew running it at all wasn't a good idea when I already felt kind of depleted.  However, I did try to hike it kind of hard.  That didn't work out great.

There were some nasty storms in that area the other night.  I guess they dumped a lot of rain.  There were streams where I don't remember ever seeing streams before.  My feet got quite wet.

I hiked up and up and up.  I know this trail so well by now.  I just kept pressing on.  The super technical boulder section was even wet and tough to navigate.  I didn't see many hikers in the some too, with my speed hiking.  I got to the top and took my usual photo.
beginning, but there were quite a few as I climbed.  I passed

The Blue Trail ridge section was a mix of running and hiking.  I caught some hikers right as it was descending.  I passed them running and they said, "good for you."  I picked my way down.  I didn't feel great or terrible at this point.  I didn't want to get injured on the rocks.

The water was running wild when I got to the waterfall at the bottom.  Even with my speed hiking up, I was slower than normal, thanks to the heat and/or lack of proper nutrition.  My run down was slower too and it was a few minutes under an hour when I finished the first loop.

I dried off a bit at the car.  I spent a few minutes there.  I figured that I might as well just get going.  It was going to be an ugly loop 2.

I hiked even some of the early parts that I often run.  I managed to avoid the bees around the one tree for a second time.  I didn't see much of anything on these loops.  I sluggishly picked my way up the mountain.  I barely ran at all.  It was basically a hike.

I took a little more time than usual at the top.  I was going slow anyway.  I also wasn't going to finish under 2 hours.  I mostly hiked the ridge.

I was glad to finally be descending the Blue Trail.  I didn't feel any worse than the first loop at least.  I went down slowly and controlled.  It would be nice to be able to hammer it a little, but I had to listen to my body.  I had no nutrition with me either, so I couldn't recover.

Most people were gone by now.  I did see a few hikers though.  I saw these cute little kids with their hiking gear on at the bottom.  I finished up and was very happy to be done.  I finished two loops, even if they weren't overly productive.  I figure that I've now done about 30,000 feet of gain and the same loss just on Tammany loops alone.

Tomorrow, I hope to run again.  It should be kind of easy.  Maybe I'll go to South Mountain.  I should switch it up sometime and go to Walking Purchase Park.  I haven't been there in awhile.  I could also just go to another section of the AT.  I'm leaning that way now actually.

7.10 miles - 2:08:38 (18:07 pace) 2373 feet of elevation gain
Mt. Tammany Summits 23 and 24 for 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Post Storm Run

Today was a frustrating day.  It was supposed to storm, so I waited things out in the afternoon.  Nothing came and instead it blew through around dinner time.  I almost didn't do anything.

I couldn't go where I wanted, so I had to stay local.  I went to Jacobsburg.  I figured even a short run is better than nothing.  I haven't been able to do anything good lately and today was more of the same.  At least it was a run though.

The storms were fierce, but fast moving.  They cooled things off a little I guess, but it was still humid after 7 PM.  At least it wasn't sunny.  I wore a sleeveless shirt.  It didn't last though, as I was too hot.  My shorts were soaked by the end of this short and easy run too.

I started off along the creek and it was nice and peaceful.  There was almost no one out today, so I had the trails mostly to myself and the wildlife.  My GPS didn't track right in the beginning, so my distance was always wrong.

I got to the gradual uphill.  I went easy, but was huffing and puffing up it.  Still, I ran it all.  I ran this entire run.  Most stuff I do now is just too steep to keep running.

I ran along the fields at the top.  The view of the mountain was sure pretty with the setting sun.  The trails had a little mud, but the rain was so brief earlier.

A deer ran across the trail as I neared the end of the field section.  It was cool to watch it, hop and hop again over the field.  I'm used to seeing deer in the woods, where they just disappear quickly.

After that part it was downhill and I was heading toward the car.  I didn't like how short this run would be though.  I was going to go out and back.  Then, I came to the trail behind the new building.  I decided to take it.

This is another nice climb.  Once again, I was huffing and puffing, but still running, as I picked my way up it.  I knew most of the challenge was over now though.

Next was my favorite place in all of Jacobsburg.  It is a fun, narrow singletrack ridge.  There are roots to navigate.  With it being wet, I was very careful over it.  If every part of the trail was like this, I'd have a lot more fun at Jacobsburg.

I then crossed back over the creek and headed for home.  I ran into a couple women walking over the bridge.  They were the first people I saw all day.  After finishing, I saw a guy hiking with an American flag.  That was interesting.

It wasn't a fun and challenging day, like I had hoped, but at least I got something done.  I really need to put in a good day tomorrow.  Maybe I can go to Mt. Tammany.  I need some climbing.  I've also been thinking about another trip to Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle.

5.89 miles - 51:46 (8:47 pace) 404 feet of elevation gain INACCURATE DATA

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day AT Run with Scott Jurek

My original plan was to run with Scott Jurek today in New Jersey.  I got a message from Angie saying she wanted to do the same.  Luckily, I didn't work, so we made it happen.  He started at Wind Gap and was moving pretty well through the morning.  When I checked the tracker, he was already heading toward Sunfish Pond.

I wanted to try to catch him near the Mohican Outdoor Center.  It is a place that I have wanted to check out for some time.  We didn't actually go to the center though, as the AT crosses near it.  Angie drove us there.

We arrived at the AT crossing and saw his van parked there, so as we figured, he had not come through yet.  The van was open and Scott's wife Jenny was preparing for his arrival.  She is amazing, as she is driving around everywhere and crewing for him.  There is a camera crew with him, but they are just filming.  Jenny is doing all the work.  It is truly a mom and pop type operation.  There were a few others hanging around, but it looked like we were the only ones there to meet him to run.

I wore my Trail WhippAss singlet.  Even though it was hot, I had to represent the group.  Without moving fast, I was still soaked by the end of the brief run.  There was sparse tree cover, so that didn't help.

Angie had some time, but we had an hour drive back.  Therefore, we couldn't waste time waiting for Scott to arrive.  We decided to run out until we met up with him.  His wife figured he was within half an hour of us.

Angie and I sort of ran/hiked out to Scott.  The trail was what I would call semi technical.  Doing a short run like we were, I could've run most of the time.  Running all day on this rocky part would be a bit of a chore.  It's still not as bad as Pennsylvania is though.

We spotted a view at one point.  That was cool, so we took a few pictures.  Then we were on our way again.  We saw a hiker shortly after the view.

Then, almost out of nowhere, Scott appeared on the trail.  I was a little surprised to see him alone.  We asked if we could join him and he said "sure."  He's such a nice and humble guy.  I guess with the crowd we had in a remote section in the dark yesterday, I was expecting a few people with him today.

Yesterday, I couldn't really talk to him, because I was farther back in the line.  Today, I was able to chat a bit and so was Angie.  I didn't want to say too much though either.

I asked him about rattlesnakes and he said surprisingly he had not seen one yet.  That amazed me, after traveling all of that distance.  Angie later asked him about other wildlife and he said he saw quite a few bears and cubs and plenty of deer.  He's encountered some dreaded ticks too.

We were about a mile out when we headed back.  He was sort of running, but as his usual, a slow and steady pace.  He seems to be really consistent and does mostly hiking.  He covers a lot of distance by putting in long hours and hiking at a decent pace.  For example, today he was looking to put in maybe 19 hours.

I couldn't believe that he was shooting for a 58 mile day today.  He started with maybe the worst section of rocks in the whole trail.  Those clearly didn't slow him much.  I figured if he could get 58 miles, he'd be at High Point State Park.  That's a super impressive day, from Wind Gap to High Point.  I know because I've run both areas and driven to and from each and that takes awhile.

Scott was excited as we approached the road crossing and his vehicle.  He was happy to be close, but more happy when he heard the water.  When we stopped, he dipped into the stream to cool off.  His camera crew got video of that.

Scott spent a few minutes at the vehicle.  Jenny checked on his needs.  He was doing pretty good though, just making progress as usual.  I think he ate some type of popcorn and some other snacks.  I'm not sure what he was drinking, but he had a hydration pack.  The van is loaded with all kinds of gear.  It's an impressive, compact setup.

He was also nice enough to sign a copy of Eat &;Run for me.  I left it in the car at the start last night, so I couldn't get an autograph.  I was glad to get that and we got a photo of the three of us before heading back out.

Angie and I had about 45 minutes to an hour to run yet.  We figured we could go out about another mile and then turn and come back.  This wasn't a steep climb to start, but it was still a climb.  I was surprised to hear him breathing heavy as we hiked this ascent.  Then, I realized that is because he was trying to eat while doing so.  I tried not to chat too much.

I did ask him about his favorite section and he said he really enjoyed Roan Mountain (NC) and the Smokies were nice too.  He also saw the wild ponies at Grayson Highlands.  I want to camp in that section some time.  He told me that David Horton met up with him in Southern Virginia too.

I have maps of this section of the AT and I knew there were several viewpoints.  I was hoping we would at least get to one.  I could start to see a lot of light, about a mile out and I could tell we were getting close to one.

After a little over a mile out, we finally did.  It was this rock overlook with a steep drop off and an amazing panoramic view.  I knew Angie and I would stop for photos here.

We decided to just turn around here.  We thanked Scott and wished him luck and he was on his way.  It is interesting that he just blew past a view.  He has probably seen so many amazing ones that it was no big deal at that point.

Angie and I stayed and took a bunch of photos.  Then, we were on our way.  Now, we were descending gradually on this semi technical terrain.  It was a fun, little short run.  Angie handled it well.  It seemed like we were back to the car quickly and done.  Jenny had packed up and was already on to the next road crossing.

This was a short run, but an excellent little adventure.  I was very impressed with the trail in this section.  It's not too far from home, so I'll have to come up and run it more often.  I want to see even more of the views too.

Tomorrow, I really need to get back to running some more mileage and at a little faster pace.  I'm not sure where I'll go yet.  If I have the energy, perhaps back to Mt. Tammany.  If not, maybe at South Mountain (Lehigh).  I'd like to do about 7 or 8 miles.

Part 1 1.99 miles - 38:35 (19:26 pace)  323 feet of elevation gain
Part 2 2.5 miles - 49:11 (19:40 pace) 459 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Night AT Run with Scott Jurek

I've been following Scott Jurek's up to date progress of the Appalachian Trail run.  I figured that I had to run with him at some point.  I knew he'd be in my area today.  However, I planned to camp, so I wasn't going to run.  Then, I asked Janine if she was going to run with him and she said when he came through later.  I figured this would be around dark.

I had trouble following his tracker all day, so I wasn't going to go.  Then I talked to Janine again and she was heading out.  Scott was already at Smith Gap Road, so I figured that I had about an hour to meet him.  I quickly grabbed my gear and headed to the Katellen Trail.

It was raining when I started, so I opted for a short sleeve shirt, instead of a singlet.  It was still quite hot and muggy.  Even with an easy pace, I was soaked by the end of the run.

I mostly hiked the several hundred foot climb from the Katellen Trail.  I arrived a few minutes before Scott did.  I wasn't sure where Janine and Bob were, but then Janine came over to where I was.  A guy that was with Scott for most of the day came out ahead of him.  A short time later, Scott appeared.  He rested briefly on a fallen tree and took some photos.

Then we were off.  There was a group of three people from the Scranton area.  They ran with him from Smith Gap Road.  There was another guy, besides the guy I that was out ahead earlier.  Basically, even heading into the darkness on a fairly remote section, he had a crew.  I think this is the normal thing for Scott.

I took some photos at the powerline of the sunset.  That put me in the back of the train.  I was following the two women from Scranton and the guy they were with.  The last women, I never did get her name, chatted with me a lot.  She tried to do Eastern States last year and failed.  Now, she's going for Oil Creek and also is running Quadzilla.  I guess she ran 21 miles on roads earlier.

This rocky section at dusk was pretty much just a hike.  However, even with that, the women were kind of cautious.  They clearly aren't on trails that are this technical.  We actually lost ground to Scott and he wasn't really even running.  Janine was farther up ahead.

It was getting very close to dark now.  When we got to the next clearing, the sun was nearly set.  I took a couple pictures, but used that time to get ahead of the women.  I didn't want to lose contact with Scott and the front.  I also wanted to run when I could.  I haven't run all weekend and was ready to go.  Even though this section is technical, I'm used to it and don't find it that bad.  I could've run it in the dark.  Janine could have too.

I felt kind of bad for the Scranton crew.  They didn't have headlamps or water.  However, that was their own fault.  Always come prepared to a run around darkness.  Janine gave them some water and we both went back to check on them when we were done.  Plus, Bob gave them a ride back to their car at the start.

I ended up behind the guy that had been going all day.  At one point I asked him to pass because he was always hiking.  It was then just the other guy with Scott and Scott leading the way.  I told them about what was coming up next, since I've run this section a few times.  It did seem like it went on forever though.

I bashed the same part of the side of my foot on rocks at two different times.  Some of the super technical stuff was hard to even hike on.  It was super slippery too and I slipped good one time.  I continued on though, without a crash.

The end was downhill switchback.  They are very runnable.  That is during the daylight though and without over 40 miles on your legs on the day.  Scott did run down them, but it was still very slow.  I followed along and I told them where to turn when we came out to the road.

We came out to the road and a camera crew followed us.  It felt pretty cool, even if they weren't there for me.  There were quite a few people waiting at the small Wind Gap parking lot, including Scott's wife Jenny.  We didn't stay too long, as it was 10 PM.  I was amazed at how gracious Scott was.  I didn't even talk to him really and was sort of just going to leave, but he made sure to get my name, along with everyone else.

That was fun and a unique experience, especially at sunset.  Tomorrow, I may meet him again.  I do need some quality miles too though.  Perhaps I'll run out to him at a decent clip and then turn around and run back.  Then, at least I'll some faster running.  I'll probably run into him in New Jersey, if I go in the afternoon.  The ground he's covering day after day is amazing!

5.17 miles - 1:36:22 (18:38 pace) 319 feet of elevation gain

Back to Susquehanna State Park

I was supposed to crew for Destrie at the Mason-Dixon 100K.  However, she had some issues and was on antibiotics.  She didn't want to chance it and run, so I ended up camping on my own near the start.

I was camping at Susquehanna State Park in Maryland.  There is nice singletrack there, but I just don't enjoy the rolling hills much.  Part of it was due to running two loops around the place and through mud in the HAT 50K.  Today, I was only planning on about 4 or 5 miles.

I went out without a shirt for the evening run.  Of course, it was still humid and muggy.  The trails were slightly overgrown in spots and that mud followed me around again.

I began by running from the campground.  The trail connects directly from the loop, near my campsite.  Since I've run here three times before, I knew where to go.  I followed the green blazed trail. 

I was happy to get to the weird tree that I know.  The singletrack was nice and actually somewhat fun.  I ran the entire first mile.  Then, I didn't feel like pushing it, so I hiked one steep hill.  I kind of enjoyed this trail system much more now that I was just cruising along.

I ran on to the Ridge Trail for a bit.  That wasn't as bad as I remembered either.  With the humidity, my breathing was labored a bit.  Still, I was surviving.  I didn't want to go out too far though.

Around mile 2.25, I saw a sign for the Farm Road Trail.  It looked like the trail cut across, so I figured I'd run it.  I was surprised to come to an abandoned farm early on.  I'd never run this part before.  It wasn't long though and I was back to a known section.

I followed this trail along.  It went through an open grass field that was quite neat, with the setting sun.  Then,

it was back in the woods.  I got back to the campground connector trail around mile 3.

That wasn't enough so I took another section of the green trail.  This was an easier part of the loop.  It was gradual downhill and a wide woods road.  I ran it to 3.45 miles and turned around and headed back. 

I slowly went up the gradual hill.  I then got back to the campground and ran around the loop and back to my campsite.  I accomplished exactly what I wanted to on this evening.

Destrie came by later in the evening.  We hung out for a bit and went to a movie.  At least that gave me something to do for the night.

4.15 miles - 47:36 (11:28 pace) 400 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Not Going as Planned

I never do have a fixed running plan these days.  However, I at least have an idea of what I want to do the day of.  For today, I decided on a few hill sprints in the evening at South Mountain (Lehigh).  I had a bunch of curveballs today, but simply plugged away.

I got there in the evening.  I was unsure if I should even go out, as it looked like it was about to storm.  I went anyway.  It was fairly comfortable.  I wore a singlet to start and planned to take it off for the repeats, but that didn't happen either.

When I was recently at South Mountain, I found a gnarly, steep hill that seemed good for hill repeats.  For some reason, I thought it was off of the lower road, but it wasn't.  I ran down to that and hit a dead end.  Then, I had to climb back up to the upper road, between buildings.  I went through some high grass and was worried a little about ticks.

I finally didn't find the trail I was looking for.  It was actually very close to my car.  Instead, I had looked all around the Mountaintop Campus.  The start of this trail is kind of hard to find.  I began running downhill.  This was tough though.  It is just too steep and too rocky.  It is also overgrown in spots and there was what looked like topsoil on the trail.  I was sliding all over that, with the recent rain.

I thought about hiking back up and not doing a second repeat.  Instead, I picked my way down the hill and on to the main trail.  I'd just run there.  It is a fun singletrack anyway.

I figured I'd run down the switchbacking section that I ran in the winter some nights.  Then, maybe I'd do repeats there.  I had a lot of fun descending.  So much so, that I decided to just keep following the trail.  In the winter, it ended at some logs that I had to climb over.  Now, I could follow it more easily.

I thought things were going good, as I was gradually switchbacking up the hill.  I figured I'd be making a long loop.  I got near the trees and was running over a wooden mountain bike structure and it happened.  I felt a sharp sting in my calf.  I knew immediately it was a bee.  I yelled a little and tried to run on.

I couldn't run though.  Every impact with the ground hurt too much.  I ended the run and turned off my watch.  It was time to hike back after a short day.  The problem was, I didn't know how to get back.  I was not going to retrace my steps over the potential nest and get stung again.  I was out on a service road where they are doing construction.  I simply following that, as it descended.  However, I had no way of getting back to the trail.

I was afraid of where the road would come out to and I was correct.  It was on the east side of the mountain.  I didn't know how to get back on the trail and it was a long way back on the road.

I know there's a dead end circle near part of the trail, but I'm not quite sure where it is.  I was probably close, but I didn't want to snoop around too much.  I gradually climbed around the side of the mountain.  I took a road that I wasn't even sure would go through, but it did. 

I ended up on the South Side of Bethlehem.  This is not the best neighborhood to be in.  I was running some flat to downhill.  I still had so far to run back.  I kept changing streets, until I was on 4th Street.

I knew the road up the mountain was Hayes Street.  I ran out to that and finally found it.  It was good to know where I truly was, except now I had a lot of climbing ahead of me.

This was just a long grind up Hayes Street and then Mountain Drive.  It wasn't steep by mountain standards, but it is an impressive climb by road standards.  Being that it is a road, I was able to be steady and gradually get up it.  My breathing labored, but I kept pushing.  I was uncomfortable on Mountain Drive, so I wanted to get up in as quickly as possible. 

After the overlook, I knew I was most of the way up.  The lungs were starting to burn though.  I had to keep running, as long as I could.  It still went uphill, but flattened out a little while later.  It was a gradual climb from then on out.  I got into the Mountaintop Campus and steadily went back to my car.

I ended up doing a lot more miles than I hoped.  I also ran on the roads too much.  However, I did get a great workout, thanks to the big hill climb.  I also made the most of the situation.  I survived the bee sting and ran again.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run more.  Perhaps I'll go to Tammany.  Two loops there would be nice.  Sometime, I need to check out a new place, like maybe Sourland Mountain.

Pre Sting   2.62 miles - 34:30 (11:40 pace) 170 feet of elevation gain
Post Sting 4.1 miles - 36:19 (8:52 pace) 683 feet of elevation gain

Monday, June 15, 2015

Trexler Course Unmarking

I didn't run yesterday.  I road my bike and took video while road running friends hit the pavement.  That was a fun change.  I wanted to get back on dirt today.

Since I didn't work today, things were perfect for an earlier than usual run.  I didn't get a chance to get to Trexler to remove the flags after the Ten Hours of Trexler.  I went out to do that today.

It was very hot and humid when I began around lunchtime.  At least I would beat the storms though.  I knew I'd be dieing at Trexler with so much exposure.  I ran without a shirt.  I had to take it easy.  I knew I had to be careful with water.  I only had one full handheld.  Ideally, two handhelds would've been better for this 8.5+ mile loop.  Maybe I should start parking at the Zoo trailhead and then I can get water halfway through at the Environmental Center.

Instead, I started at the Environmental Center.  I was very disappointed a month or so ago, when I first saw the Border Trail reroute.  It takes out the amazing first steep climb.  Since I was looking to remove flags, I had to take the new Border Trail that we used for the race.  This was the first time I was on this section.

It started downhill and I have to admit I was impressed.  It was a beautiful, flowing singletrack with lush green on the sides and tree coverage above.  After a short bit, it began to switchback around to climb.  The climb is still a bit tough, although I'm sure I'll handle it fine in the cooler weather.  Today, I hiked.

I was surprised to see no flags at any of the turns.  I guess either someone from Trexler or maybe even a hiker removed them.  That allowed me to run along, although I was carrying a plastic bag.

It wasn't long and I was back to the normal trail and route.  The bison were out, but they were up high in their pen.  I guess they like to be there in the middle of the day, rather than near the road.

It was already hot and I was sweating plenty.  The exposed sun sections were brutal, like the long climb about 1.5 miles in.  I hiked the first part, but ran a lot of the rest of it.  I wasn't feeling too bad, since I was being careful.

Even though it was hot, the views in the open part along the top were amazing as always.  I really took them in.  I then headed back on the singletrack.  I went where a friend might've spotted a cougar last week.  I didn't see anything, but I was on the lookout.

I ran for a good stretch here.  I have to be careful.  I can't really run for much more than a mile straight in these conditions, or I start to overheat.  I need to run and hike. 

I got to the two short "false" hills.  Even those, which are steep with loose rock, were a struggle.  The big hill was just a beast.  The bottom is so exposed and the top is so steep.  It was draining me.

I hiked more on the next hill too.  I was being cautious and taking it easy.  While I wasn't feeling strong, my slower pace was allowing me to survive the conditions.  I may be adapting slightly too.

I knew that I needed to cool off in the creek crossing.  I poured my wet buff over my head.  That felt great.  There was a couple on the other side of the creek.  I think they might've been running, but I couldn't tell. 

Shortly after the creek and just before the road crossing, I found my first flag.  They were all over from this point on.  Some might've been picked up or blown away, but I'm ending up getting most of them in this second half of the run.  I was almost wondering if maybe the creek crossing guy was picking them up, since I saw them only after him.  I doubt it, but it was odd.

I ran easy when I could and when I felt like it.  The exposed sections were certainly the worst.  It felt so hot.  After the climb near the zoo, there was a good stretch of running.  I found a small stream after the other road crossing and poured more water over my head.  I did the same about a mile later, when I came to the wider crossing.  Using my buff to cool off with the water was a huge help.

I hiked up the long hill on the way to KidsPeace.  I ran on the dirt road, but then hike/ran on the rolling singletrack after that.  I was happy to be closing in on the Environmental Center.  The heat was slowly wearing at me.

I crossed the final road and was ready to climb again.  I went on the new section.  Again, this is a gradual switchback.  It wasn't as pretty as the other reroute section though.  It adds quite a bit of length too.

I went right to the parking lot and finished up.  I had be hoping to run under 1:40, but the extra distance did me in.  Still, it was a solid and smart run.  In the fall, I can run it harder and faster.  For now, I'll just try to survive.  I think I was able to pick up all of our flags too.

I did just beat the rain, so that was good.  It is supposed to rain all week.  I don't know when or where I'll run.  I guess I'll have to work around the weather.  We shall see.

8.85 miles - 1:45:41 (11:57 pace) 1177 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Four Loops of Mt. Tammany

I need to get training for the Escarpment Trail Run.  I need lots of climbing and technical terrain.  Therefore, Ryan, Kobey and I headed to Mt. Tammany this morning to run loops.  Earlier in the week, I had planned on 5 loops, but as I struggled with the heat, I cut it down to 4 loops.  That would still be a PR for me.  In the snow, Ryan and I did 3 over the winter.

The weather was actually nice when we started at 9 AM.  It was around 70, not too cloudy and only slightly humid.  I still ran without a shirt.  I knew it would be a long day.  I'm glad I made that choice.

Elaine from Trail WhippAss posted that they were starting at 9 AM there.  Since we were already planning to start at 8:30 AM, it turned out good.  Ryan and I were there first.  We didn't get rolling right away.  Therefore, we ended up starting with a couple other Trail WhippAss members Chipp and Mahesha.

Chipp had never run there before, so he followed our lead while Mahesha hung behind.  Elaine had not arrived yet.  Ryan took to the front.  I let him do that, because he says I run here too hard and that is my problem.  I told him I never run at all and I still struggle.  I was the one that was right today.

It wasn't long and Ryan was climbing quickly ahead of Chipp and I.  Ryan's climbing skills have improved a lot.  I let him go, as I needed to run my own pace.  Since Chipp didn't know the terrain, he stayed back with me for most of the climb.

I wasn't struggling at all this early, but I wouldn't say I was doing great.  It was a lot of hiking.  The trail was fairly busy and this point and got even busier as the day wore on.

Ryan had his GoPro, so he stopped at times.  I took a summit photo, as always.  We hung for a little bit and then continued on to the Blue Trail.  I ran along easy.

We got to the Blue descent and Ryan just took off.  It was obvious his easy and my easy are completely different.  He was long gone.  The only time I could ever see him was on one very long, steep section.  He was way up ahead.

Near the bottom another guy Gabriel came along.  He came up the other way and joined Chipp.  They knew each other.  Ryan waited for me and we bumped into another friend Dan who was coming from Sunfish Pond.  What odd timing, as he nearly literally ran into us.  I finished loop 1 around 56 minutes.  That was solid.  My watch had not started right away initially.

We rested for a bit.  I took salt caps, added some Tailwind to my water, toweled off and also used a cold rag to keep cool.  Even though it wasn't that hot, I did still struggle a bit in this first loop.

Kobey joined us for loop 2.  Chipp and Gabriel went flying uphill.  They were hiking so well.  Ryan followed for a bit, as he was strong.  Once again, his easy and my easy are different.  Kobey and I were both struggling with the humidity.  For me, it was so much so that my shorts got soaked after this loop.

The climb was a bit of a struggle.  However, it was still mostly hiking, so I survived.  We both couldn't wait until the Blue Trail and the descending.  Kobey and I switching leading on and off down the Blue Trail.  He decided he was only doing one loop, so he pulled a bit ahead to finish.

Near the bottom, we had caught up with Elaine.  Kobey had met her a bit earlier.  She was also with a fast guy, Paul.  They ran behind us.  We never saw Chipp and Gabriel again.  Apparently, Ryan caught up to them and had a mini race.

I wasn't too bad after loop 2.  I figured I would be able to finish 4 loops, but I knew it wouldn't be pretty.  I think I came in these two loops under 2 hours total.  I had not slipped yet, but that would change.

I knew loop 3 would be a struggle.  I hiked along, behind Elaine, Paul and Ryan.  It was fun and the chatting made things less painful.  Still, hiking was starting to become a bit of a struggle.  We were now approaching 3,000 feet of gain.  I didn't fair too bad on the hike actually.

I think Ryan and I got ahead.  Elaine and Paul have 100 milers next weekend, so they are taking it easy.  There were so many hikers up there and they often saw us doing multiple loops.  A few were impressed by our craziness.

We made it to the summit and I snapped a quick photo.  However, I couldn't run much on the technical, flat Blue Trail.  I struggled hiking along the ridge.  At least I could try the descent.

That was tricky too though.  I began losing concentration a little.  It wasn't terrible, but I was landing funny on some of the rocks and it was just slow.  The parts that I find fun, were quite the challenge today.  I had to simply hike some of them, where I would otherwise normally run.  I made it back to the car, but wasn't in great shape.  I think it was around 3:10 or 3:15 into the run now.

We rested a lot more now.  We took some group photos.  I cooled off.  I added some extra Tailwind.  I kind of just wanted to get going and get the suffering over with.

Almost immediately, I noticed that my quads were sore.  Hiking up the steep section was tough.  I felt a little better as time went on though.  Maybe it was knowing this was my last loop.  Whatever the case, I pushed a pretty solid hiking pace.  Ryan fell back a little and Elaine a little farther.

We all met up at the summit though.  I struggled hiking along the ridge on the Blue Trail.  Elaine and Ryan chatted away and pulled ahead.  I thought I might never see them again.

Another guy was running and he went by me.  I decided to run a little and surprisingly, I felt good.  It allowed me to catch up to Ryan and Elaine.  They were still hiking the descent.

I decided that I needed to run and get it over with.  I ran on down.  I picked my way over the rocks.  My concentration was actually better now.  I wasn't fast by any means, but I was at least solid and running.  The legs didn't hurt too much, but my feet were getting very sore from pounding the rocks.  I'm not sure they could take much more.

It was great to finally get to the bottom and on to the AT.  I enjoyed knowing I was nearly done.  I finished about a minute before Ryan and Elaine.  It was a good day and I hit my goal so I was happy.  I didn't overheat too bad, although I didn't do great in the final 2 loops either.

I could've went out for a 5th loop, but it would've been pointless.  I was just slowing too much and hiking too much at that point.  It really wasn't accomplishing much of anything.  If I can figure out how to not fade at Escarpment, then I'll do okay.  Otherwise, it could be a struggle.  This was close to the same distance as that, yet with much more elevation there.

Tomorrow, I'm waking up bright and early to ride my bike.  Kobey has a big group run.  I'm going to bike with Angie and Mel, as they run.  It should be fun and easy.  Maybe I'll add more miles too.  I'll probably take video as well.

14.61 miles - 4:32:59 (18:41 pace) 4768 feet of elevation gain
Mt. Tammany Summits 19, 20, 21 and 22 in 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Muggy Lehigh Gap Run

I didn't do anything yesterday, so I had to run today.  I just wasn't sure where.  I'm going to Tammany tomorrow, so that was out of the question.  Then, I realized that I have not been to Lehigh Gap since the winter.  Last time I was there, there was snow on the ground.

It was probably the worst day of summer yet.  If it didn't hit 90, it was near 90.  It was incredibly muggy too.  I started around 2 PM and of course went without a shirt.  The plan was for a short 5 miler.  With some mountain climbing, it wouldn't exactly be easy though.

I'm clearly never going to be good in the heat.  Maybe I can get better though.  I made sure to drink a lot before the run.  I also blasted my car AC, to the point where I was actually a little chilly.  I think basically headed right out to run.

The beginning is easy trail, but it is exposed for a bit.  I ran, but went super slow, so I wouldn't wear myself out.  I had a handheld, but that was it.

It wasn't long and I was back into the woods and on the Woodpecker Trail.  This is semi technical and I was worried about hidden rattlesnakes around the rocks.  I never saw any.  I was surprised that I basically ran all of this.  When it was snow covered, it was too difficult.  Now, it wasn't too steep.

The same thing happened when I got on to the AT.  Again, it was rocky and steep.  However, it wasn't as steep as I remembered it and I was able to run on it a bit.  I didn't think I'd be able to run on it at all.  I cool whether, I may even be able to run most of it.

I picked my way up the AT and began to eventually hike to the AT shelter.  I was definitely hot and sweating a lot, but not as much as I expected.  I was surviving and wondering if the pre cooling was helping.  It may have and I might have to try more techniques again.

The trail flattens out by the shelter, so I used that to run.  Some hikers were at the shelter already and I think surprised that I was running.  However, they obviously didn't know I was hiking a lot too.

I had to hike more after the shelter.  Not long after that though, the AT starts rolling.  It was much more runnable, although still a lot of uphill.  I ran and hiked.

At one point, I noticed some scat on the trail.  It looks like bear scat, so I was very bear aware after that.  I didn't see one though.  I continued on.

I had hoped to actually get out to 2 or 2.5 miles.  For some reason, the trees had not sprouted yet very much on this side of the mountain.  That made it much hotter for me.  I had to hike some and take cover in shade at times.

While I was hot, I was cautious and not overdoing it.  I pushed myself on to 1.75 miles and that was enough for now.  I headed back downhill.  I proceeded slowly and felt much better with a breeze and easy running now.

I got to the intersection of the blue blazed North Trail.  This is much steeper than the AT, so I saved it until now, when I was recovered after the downhill.  I had to hike most of the way up this.  I got over 1200 feet of gain by doing so.

I then turned and ran down.  The descent was a little hot, but fun.  It is rocky, but not too bad.  I'm so used to technical terrain now.  I feel as though I'm getting much better on it.

Instead of going back on the Woodpecker Trail, I stayed on the AT.  That would add about a mile, as I'd run briefly on some road.  The AT is eventually exposed and very hot.  The scenery was great though.

I ran along the road and then turned and ran the road into the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.  I looped around the building and finished up.  I was over 4.5 miles and satisfied with my workout.  The heat certainly impacted my run, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.  I did make sure to get in the shade and drink a lot of water afterward.  Cranking the AC in the car helped too.

It was a productive day.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Ryan and Kobey are meeting me at Mt. Tammany.  I'm going to plan for 4 loops.  Ryan is trying to push me to do 5 loops.  I just want to be careful and not overheat.  I'll rest between loops and cool myself off a lot.  Going in the morning might help too.  I hope it is a fun day and not a disaster.  Some Trail WhippAss people will be there too.

4.65 miles - 1:06:12 (14:14 pace) 1224 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

South Mountain (Lehigh) w/ Ryan

Ryan and I talked about running at Mt. Tammany.  However, I just decided that I wanted to stay local.  We headed to South Mountain (Lehigh) for a short run.

The weather was much nicer than lately.  It was much less humid.  However, I still struggled with it.  I was breathing heavy, even early on.

Ryan and I have been arguing about my summertime struggles.  I tried to explain how poorly I handle the heat.  He keeps trying to insist I need to slow the pace.  I tell him pace doesn't matter, I just can't deal with hot conditions.  So, I let him set the pace and lead the way.  He's never been there, so I had to direct him on the turns.

The one nice thing about this run is it starts downhill.  Ryan cruised on this, already a faster pace that I would've run it.  I always take my time, but he doesn't believe me.

Before long, we were to the first road crossing.  Then, it was some fun singletrack and the first climb.  Sure enough, Ryan steadily picked his way up this moderate.  I didn't get far and my breathing was labored and I was already struggling.  I was forced to hike.  It should be an easy effort, but as usual, it wasn't for me.

Even hiking, I can't breath well.  I ran a little more when it flattened out.  Then, it was on to the next hill.  Again, he ran an easy effort and pace and I had to hike.

I was glad when we got to the downhill part.  I know I can run downhills okay.  I recovered somewhat and cruised along.  We ran past the disc golf course.  Then we crossed the road.

I noticed that even though I had run downhill, I was getting a bit worn out.  Luckily, most of this next technical section was downhill, so I could keep up with Ryan pretty well.

We decided after the small bridge to go across from it.  I don't run this part much and I'm glad I don't.  It winds in and out.  It went on and on and on.  I was wondering if we'd ever loop out of there, but I was sure.  There was some uphill here and I had to hike more. 

When we finally turned an headed back, I realized we were practically doing an out and back.  I got very frustrated, as we were so far out.  I had to hike more, as Ryan got ahead again.

I ran a little more when we went downhill.  I was so thrilled when we finally got out of that section.  I may not run there again for awhile.  Since Ryan was crashing a little himself too, we stuck with the normal loop.

On the way to the overlook, there was a deer right next to the road.  It just stood there and ate grass and stared at me.  I'm not sure I've ever been that close to one and not had it run away.  It didn't seem to care.  We enjoyed the overlook briefly after that.

Then it was on to more uphill.  Again, I struggled quite a bit with this.  It was a lot of hiking and some running.  Ryan was ahead as usual.  We got out to the road and were nearly done.

I even had to hiked the paved steps uphill.  This is a course I never even have to think about hiking in good weather.  My legs felt so fresh at this easy effort.  I just couldn't run much of the hills.  At least we were done and Ryan was able to see my struggles.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again.  I might go to the Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival.  If I do, I may run the Katellen Trail beforehand.  A few repeats would be nice.  However, it will be super hot and humid.  We'll see what I can do.

6.34 miles - 1:15:39 (11:56 pace) 782 feet of elevation gain

Monday, June 8, 2015

Humid Double Tammany Loop

I had a busy weekend, with the Ten Hours of Trexler on Saturday and working on some stuff for it on Sunday.  I had to get out and run today.  The plan was several loops at Mt. Tammany.  I arrived there around 2 PM and the lot was already packed.  Quite impressive for a Monday afternoon.

It was around 80 when I started, but it was also humid.  I debated going shirtless, but in the end, the new Trail WhippAss singlet won out.  It only last one loop in this weather though.  The next loop was run shirtless.

I began as usual, running to the first technical section and then up part of that as well.  I'd have to work really hard to run the rest of this part.  Maybe one day I'll try that.  I hiked the rest of it this time.

I cruised on past the bottom view.  I rarely stop on this run/hike any more.  It was much more of a hike today.  I felt quite terrible for some reason, even early on.  The heat might've had an impact, but it wasn't just that.

What always screws me up is that I try to hike after running and that never works.  My breathing is already labored and the hiking isn't easy, so I can't recover.  I noticed that I do hike quickly and I really lean into the mountain well. 

When I got to the rocky section, a bunch of school age children came hiking down.  I was laughing to myself, as my singlet said Trail WhippAss.  No one said anything if they noticed. 

After most of the really technical section was over, I encountered a guy resting on the rocks, while his friend was encouraging him to go on.  I told him that I'm doing two loops, so he can certainly do one.  Not sure if that worked, but I saw them on my second loop and they were hiking down and did make it to the top.

I encountered quite a few hikers.  I had run around the young kids and that made me go a little faster.  It was tough, as I was overheating and getting really beat.  I figured I'd still do another loop, but really I wasn't sure how.  I was mainly just hiking up and it was a struggle.  I drank some water.

Eventually, I came to the top.  That was a relief.  I got there in under 27 minutes too.  That's fairly quick for me.  I took a selfie of me with the singlet on at the view.  I then headed on the Blue Trail.

I was beat, but there was a breeze on the ridge.  That was nice.  It cooled me off a bit.  I was still stumbling on rocks every now and then and it was rocks that I should not be tripping over.

It was great to be heading downhill.  I took it much easier than last week's run here though.  For one, the heat had made me much less steady.  I did cool off going downhill and actually sort of recovered and felt good.

I picked my way down slowly.  While the Red Dot Trail was crowded, no one was taking the Blue Trail back down.  I think I might've had it all to myself.  If I didn't, I passed one or two groups of people at most.

I cruised back on to the AT at the bottom.  I ran along nice and easy back to the car.  It was over 55 minutes when I arrived there.  I felt much better now, but still had to take a break at the car.

I toweled off, took of my singlet and grabbed more water.  I also drank some concentrated Tailwind.  I had some of that before the run too.  It is so old though, so I'm not sure if it even worked.  I need to park in the shade next time I run here.

I headed back out after a couple minutes of rest.  I was quite beat as this loop started, so I knew it would be even more hiking.  I just wanted to get it in under 2 hours.

I hiked the early stairs and some of the flats.  I knew I'd also hike the technical section.  I saw a few of the hikers come down that were going up or down on my first loop.

I ended up running a little around the bottom view, but again I was so destroyed.  My body was overheating again, even as I was hiking.  My legs felt strong, but my body simply couldn't regulate its temperature very well.

I'm getting to know this trail so well now.  It is both good and bad.  Somehow, I keep missing this one turn in the technical part.  This loop, I finally didn't.  It is tough because even after this part, there is still about 400 feet of gain left.  I battled on up.

Finally, I got to the top about 1.5 hours into the run/hike.  I took a brief photo and headed on my way.  With my body struggling with the heat and the terrain being rocky, I ended up hiking a lot of the Blue Trail along the ridge too.

Once I started really hitting the downhill, I began to run again.  It was a slow run though.  I just picked my way through the rocks.  I passed two hikers on the steepest part.  They had poles and were moving carefully.  I noticed the one guy just watched my feet as I ran through the boulder minefield.

It was good to get through that part.  I kept running and felt a little better now that I was going downhill.  My concentration came back, although I still tripped on some rocks.  For the most part, my foot placement was at least acceptable.

I had a bad issue near the bottom though.  I bashed the front of my toe really hard on a rock.  I had to limp/walk after that for a bit.  Luckily, the pain wore off and I could run again and it isn't a problem now either.

I knew I had to hustle a little.  I would be very close to 2 hours when the loop was completed.  I cruised down the AT.  I saw a thru hiker on the AT. 

I kept watching the clock and it was at 1 hour 59 minutes for awhile.  Luckily, I made it in in just under 3 hours.  I was hot, but I feeling better than I had when I was hiking up.

I don't know what to think.  I clearly struggled so much running or hiking uphill and yet recovered so well going downhill.  I probably could've hiked another loop and then run down, but that would've been a suffer fest for sure.  I'd like to think maybe I can do 4 or 5 loops if I started in the early morning.  I seem to be pushing close to my limits though with the heat on the way up.  My legs felt super fresh and have a lot more in them.

It was a productive day.  Despite the heat and all the climbing, I really enjoyed it.  I never get tired of this loop.  I'm sure one day I will eventually, but not now.  It is such a great training ground.  It just short enough to run over and over again in the summer too.  I was glad to see no snakes or bears up there either.  I guess eventually I'll encounter them.

Tomorrow, I hope to run again.  I'd like to do something else with elevation.  Maybe I'll do repeats somewhere.  I have a nice and steep hill at South Mountain now.  There's also always the Katellen Trail.  I haven't been there in awhile.

7.42 miles - 1:59:52 (16:09 pace) 2351 feet of elevation gain
Summits 17 and 18 for 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ten Hours of Trexler Course Marking

I've been busy putting together the Ten Hours of Trexler all week.  Combined with all the rain, I didn't run much.  I had to mark the course today, before the race.

It was getting hot and humid when I started.  I was able to wear a sleeveless shirt and there was a breeze, so it wasn't too hot.  However, I was run/hiking with a pack on my back, so it was hot.

I started by the bison pen, since that is our start/finish line.  There was a guy parked by the shed there, so I decided not to mark the course yet.  After I got over the hill, I began flagging.  I put flags in the ground at every turn and tried to put a ribbon in a nearby tree too.

It was stop and go, stop and go.  I forgot how many little parts of the trail there are with turns.  Before long, I was on to the road and out of the zoo.  I had to make sure to mark this turn back on to the trail.

There was a guy about to bike as I marked the course.  I ran/hiked up the long hill.  It was pretty running through the open fields, but it was also sunny and hot. 

It was good to be back on the singletrack.  Some of this part has overgrown branches.  I broke a few of them where I could.  I wanted a clipper, but I forgot it.

These first few miles weren't bad, but I knew the hills were coming.  Even hiking them was difficult.  The steepest one is still taxing.  Slowly, this run/hike was wearing on me.

It was good to get to the creek crossing.  It was at its typical height.  There was a dead animal before it.  We should probably remove that.

The big hills were done, but I was tiring a lot.  I had to hike most of the uphills.  I put up a lot of flags in the zoo area.  It took forever for me to open new packs of flags.  I was surprised at how many I used.  Maybe I over marked the course, but I think it is good.

At one point I was finally able to run for a stretch.  I was cruising along and didn't even see the two deer.  They jumped away, one in each direction.  That was cool.

I heard something else move off the trail.  If I didn't hear the toad, I never would've even noticed it.  It blended in so well.  I took some pictures.

I continued to mark the course, running and hiking.  I was getting exhausted with over 6 miles into the run.  I hiked the long hill.  I had to mark a bit on the dirt road later.

I came through the rolling section.  This was pretty, but hot again.  Before I knew it, I was to the new trail part.

I marked the old trail, but it was getting overgrown.  They cut the grass on the new trail quite well.  Ryan went through later and we decided that we'll use the new trail.

It was great to finally get back to the bison area.  It took well over 2 hours and I was beat and soaked.  I trimmed some grass for aid station too as well.  I packed up and I think we are good to go now.  People are still signing up, but that is about it.

Tomorrow will be no running, but a lot of time running around.  I'll be on my feet plenty.  Hopefully this event will go smoothly.  We are around 50 people now.  I'll probably need a good run on Sunday, after a crazy day tomorrow.

9.47 miles - 2:34:26 (16:19 pace) 1445 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cool Evening on Tammany

It rained the last two days, so I didn't get to do anything.  I rode indoors a little, but I don't really count that.  Today was National Running Day, so of course I had to get out there.  I decided to head to Mt. Tammany in the evening.

It was definitely cooler than it had been before the rain.  It was more like typical June weather.  For me, that still met a soaked singlet, but at least I could wear that.  On top of the ridge, it was even a bit chilly. 

I signed up for the Escarpment Trail Race, so I need to get to Tammany even more frequently than I already have been.  On the way up, I hit a lot of traffic for Route 33 construction.  That was frustrating and cost me valuable time.  I was considering two loops, but now was unsure.

I arrived around 6:30 PM.  I got my stuff together quickly and headed up.  A guy went by just before me and I saw him starting to run up the trail.  When I got up the steps, I was disappointed to see that he went down to the other parking lot.  I think I would've caught him if he was running.

Even though it was cooler, my breathing still labored early on.  I was huffing and puffing on the flat section.  If I had a longer warmup, I could definitely run more on the way up.  As it is, my lungs are struggling at the start.

That said, this time, I was able to run more than usual.  I slowly picked my way up the early rocky part.  I got to maybe halfway up before I decided that I was doing too much work.  I began to hike.  I got to 220 feet of elevation gain before hiking.  I noticed at the top of the rocky section, it is 320 feet of elevation gain.  I want to work on running up that far at least.

Near the top, there were some young guys hiking down.  They told me they saw a bear nearby.  I simply said, "Okay, thanks.  I'll keep an eye out for it."  They looked stunned, as I simply continued on up the trail.  I looked all around for it, but couldn't find it.  It was fairly wide in this section, so I wasn't overly worried about an encounter.

I ran a little more after that, but I still didn't run too much more than usual.  I need to work on running certain parts.  If cooler weather would stay, it was sure help.  I amaze myself with how fast I now hike up this trail.  Before long, I was up to the rockiest section.

As I was going up, these young girls and a guy were coming down slowly.  They were impressed at how I flew up the mountain.  Of course, they weren't even following the trail, as they took the steeper way do.  I warned them of the potential bear and that scared them.

I hiked through the boulders quickly.  It was uneventful.  I'm getting faster and faster in sections like this.  Soon, I'll have to start working on running down these too.  At one point, I looked at the gain on my watch and it was approaching 800 feet.  This hiking up is getting easy.  I don't even look at the distance, I just follow the gain.

I ran here and there toward the top.  I made it there in about 27 minutes.  That seems pretty typical for me.  I took a quick photo of the summit and the setting sun.  It was pretty, but I didn't stay.  I was in a hurry this day.

I ran most of the way on the Blue Trail along the ridge.  It is good practice over rocks.  I passed a young couple and they were impressed that I was running.  I told them I have a tough race coming up.

I remember not too long ago that I thought the Blue Trail was gnarly.  It is still an interesting descent, but I cruise down it.  With the setting sun, I did stumble a little, but overall it was still fast.  I was having a blast going down.

Near the bottom, I startled some hikers when I told them I was coming.  I ran right by them and some hikers with dogs too.  I was then on the AT.  I bomb down this sometimes, but today I was still considering a second loop, so I took it easy.

I got back at the car at a little over 51 minutes.  That is a solid time for this loop.  I thought hard about another loop.  However, I was worried about darkness.  The Blue Trail with fading light could've been interesting.  So too would've been the hollow that the AT runs through.  My other concerns were the bear and the side of my foot, which I bashed on a rock.  I opted to call it a day.

Doing one loop here and not going hard doesn't do much for me any more.  I guess it is still good technical practice anyway, but I can move up and down rather quickly now.  To really get a good workout, I definitely need to do multiple loops.  That's my hope in the coming weeks.

I have to start preparing the Trexler course for our race on Saturday.  Therefore, I'll probably head there and run a loop tomorrow.  I'd love to go to Tammany again.  That probably won't happen though.  At least I should be running somewhere.

3.65 miles - 51:22 (14:05 pace) 1204 feet of elevation gain
16th Summit of the Year