Monday, March 22, 2010

Long Run in the Mountains - Sabrina

My fiancé and I keep a camper year round in Twin Mountain, NH – to be close to the mountains that we enjoy in so many ways. I haven't been to the Whites since my marathon training began, and I really needed to get up there. My long run this week was scheduled to be 17 miles, but in part because of The Eastern States 20 next weekend, I moved my mileage up this week so next weekend wouldn't feel like such a stretch. I reduced my midweek mileage by a couple of miles to accommodate a longer weekend run.

For anyone who visits Bretton Woods, you know the stretch of Route 3 from I93 through Twin Mountain is very beautiful, and it’s a drive we often take. We met up with many hiking friends in Ashland, NH on Friday night, and I was envious of everyone's hiking plans, but was looking forward to my run. A friend offered to leave me a cache of water in the back of his pickup at the trailhead he'd be parked at Saturday, which was a big help.

I started off at about 11:00 am, many hours after Michael had left to make first chair. I ran from our campground to Route 3, then out to nearly I93 – a 9.3 mile one-way distance. It was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a headwind, so I was relieved to have reached my turn around point!

It was hard to believe that I had been running for two hours and was just reaching halfway – but I continued on, taking in the scenery. Towering pines line the road ways, their bark decorated with mosses and hanging lichens, and I passed several beaver ponds. I watched for moose, but didn't see any this day. The snow is gone at the lower elevations but is still present on the mountain tops. When I crested the hill at about mile 14, I was rewarded by an amazing view of the white capped Presidential Range and a clear view of the observatory towers on the summit of Mt Washington.

When I reached mile 17, I chuckled to myself as I became aware of the contrast between the quaint main street of Twin Mountain versus the hustle and bustle of mile 17 on the marathon course. The last two miles were tough, but I was rewarded by the cheering crowd of my fiancé, Michael, and four of our friends, as I made my way down the dirt road at the campground, completing 18.6 miles in 3:55 minutes.

Sunday I skied for three hours, and managed to get 15 solid runs in before my legs said, "Ok, that's enough, please".

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