Friday, February 25, 2011

February and Frozen Foot Race #2

After January's race, the weather turned for the worse, and my training was interrupted. The track was covered in snow, the temps were cold and the roads were hard to run on at times.

The week after the race I took it somewhat easy, and then went on our annual backpacking trip, which was a nice little break from my normal weekend training routine. After the backpacking trip, I began to focus on weight training and hill running to strengthen myself for the three hills on the Frozen Foot course. I also put more emphasis on longer pace runs with shorter rest intervals. Still, I felt like I was not as prepared for February's race as I was for January's.

Race day was pleasant, around 40 degrees, and there was no wind. This was a far cry from the harsh conditions of the previous month. At the horn, I went out a little slower than the previous race, but was still in the the top 20. The slower start paid off and I didn't blow up on the hills like in January. I feel the weight training helped as well. Also, I worked on shortening and quickening my stride on the hills. Nonetheless, I was feeling those hills in the last mile, and again, didn't have my usual kick at the end. When I came to the final turn, I looked at my watch. I thought I was running slower than January, but I was actually ahead of pace. Sub-19 was in my sights, but I didn't have the legs for the last 200 meters, however, I did lower my time 9 seconds to 19:05. This was good enough for an age group win. I'm not sure of my overall place, because as of this writing, results are still not posted. I have never run a race in which it takes so long to get the results posted.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yellow Spring Rendezvous 2011

This past weekend was the Yellow Springs Rendezvous, and it was the 20th anniversay of this trip. A trip that started with Brian B., Kyle F. and myself. We have learned a lot about Winter backpacking over the years, and the trips seem to get easier all the time despite the aging process. We have had as many as 20 people come along on the trip, but this year we were at 13 (14 if you count Andrew who wandered into our camp and availed himself of our hospitality).

We parked near Rt. 72, and the snow was coming down steady as we prepared to hike. We headed north on the AT. The snow was falling and there was at least 9" of snow on the ground. At some places, the snow was well over a foot deep.

We made our way along at a steady clip, and arrived in Stony Valley around 3:00 p.m. The drill was the same as in years past: set-up the tents, gather and cut wood, bust a few caps, drink a few beers, spin a few yarns and catch-up with everyone. We left the next morning under fairly sunny skies, and were out of the woods around noon. Some in our party went to Funck's for breakfast; the Maryland crew opted for ABC; and Mitch F., Kory E. Scot H. and myslef hit the Bluebird Inn in Cornwall. This may well be the new post hike gathering point for those of us who head back to Lancaster Co.

Lessons learned on this trip were: 1) gaitors are essential when hiking in snow; 2) Pepboy's $10 folding snow shovels are the bee's knees when you need to clear snow for your tent and 3) Oscar Blues products in cans are a far better choice than humping in glass bottles.

Looking forward to the 21st anniversary trip next year: January 28th/29th.