Saturday, September 6, 2008

Run For the Hills...

Hills and mountains are a challenge when you train on Maryland's notoriously flat Eastern Shore. At the end of the month, Sunday, September 28, to be exact, we take our Rise Up Runner team of Mike Keene, Katherine Binder, and myself to the Vermont 50 miler, to have a go at the 3-person 50 mile relay.

Katherine takes the 12-mile lead leg, then I run the 22-mile middle leg, before passing the figurative baton to Keene for the 16-mile anchor leg. You can check out the elevation gain and losses (aka climbs and descents) clicking above. Here's a course description from the VT 50 website:

"The Vermont 50 Mile course starts at Ascutney Mountain Resort in Brownsville, VT . For the first three miles racers will follow down a gentle downhill on gravel roads. After an easy road climb the course turns onto snowmobile - ATV trails, which it follows through gentle rolling terrain for the next 3 miles. Shortly after leaving the ATV trails, the real climbing and descending starts. The course will follow ATV and jeep trails, single track and roads through the top of the highest hill in Hartland, where racers will get an incredible view of Vermont and New Hampshire. From about mile 40 to mile 46.5, racers will have a nice snowmobile trail over rolling, mostly downhill terrain, before hooking onto the cross country ski trail system at Mt. Ascutney for the last 4 miles."

In terms of distance/mileage, training is on track. This past Sunday I logged a 21+ mile run to the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry and back to Easton in 3:12, followed by a 10-mile day with negative splits, ending up on about 8:00 minute mile pace for the last several miles of the run. We've even been throwing some speed work in for good measure.

Hill training though, still needs some work over the next couple weeks. We've had a decent streak of Tuckahoe State Park Sundays, even throwing in some hill repeats, and I think there is more in store there.

We certainly want to get up there and look respectable (for a bunch of flatlanders :), but the main thing is to go have fun running through the mountains. Vermont in the fall is beautiful. A new state to run trails in, and with good friends. That's what running trail races is all about.

And races keep me getting out there for long runs. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to go out and survey Tuckahoe, post-Hanna. Perhaps I should take along a life jacket! ;)

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