Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7/10/11: Massanuttens to Shenandoahs and back

I ended up getting stuck in Charlotte on Friday night and didn't make it back until Saturday around lunch time. I was exhausted and only did about 14easy miles that afternoon. To make up for it, I headed to the mountains again for about 41 miles with 9K feet of climbing on Sunday.

I did a slightly shortened version of the route I ran with Greg last fall that goes up and over the Massanuttens, across the Shenandoah Valley, up the Shenandoahs to the Appalachian Trail, and back (what I call Virginia's Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim). I did stop a bit short of the AT, so it was more like 41 miles instead of the full 45 mile route.

The first 15 miles went really well. I was still tired from the previous 111 mile week, but everything was going smoothly. I made it up the 3.5 mile Sherman's Gap climb in about 45 minutes, which is pretty good time for me on that big 1,500 foot climb. I cruised across the Shenandoah Valley and stopped in the local store to fuel up with some more water.

Around mile 15, I started to get REALLY hot. It got to be over 90 degrees and was pretty humid. I started to seriously overheat on the 3,000 foot climb to the top of the Shenandoahs and had to stop at one point to let my heart rate slow down and body temperature cool.

I wasn't feeling so hot running down the Shenandoahs and crossing the valley, but it really helped to refuel at the store again on the way back. After that, I made pretty steady progress despite the serious heat.

It took me about 4 hours to run out and about 4:30 to run back. I was pretty happy with only losing 30 minutes on the way back given how much hotter it was.

This was a tough run with the heat and fatigue from lots of training. I also ended up getting many bugbites and some poison somethingorother on my legs.

However, this was another great training run and confidence booster for me. I leave you with a quote:

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man” Hunter S. Thompson


Start of the run. This is the stream that runs between the ridges of the Massanuttens. It was still pretty cool at this point.


I still look pretty sleepy here.

On top of the climb up to Sherman's Gap. The furthest peak in the distance is basically where I'm heading.




I descended the ridge after Sherman's Gap only to climb up again to this point. I really like this part of the trail.


This is a bit of a better view of the mountain I'm heading to across the valley. Still very far away!



I had just run down this, which was very fun. Going back up it in 6 hours .... much less so.



Nice view from down in the valley.



Crossing the Shenandoah Valley. It was definitely hot at this point.


I came across this fawn just at the start of the climb up the Shenandoahs. I thought it was just waiting for its mother, but it was still there when I came back down the mountain and wasn't looking so good. I fear this poor little guy didn't make it, which made me extraordinarily sad. Unfortunately there wasn't anybody or much of anything around this part of the trail, so I really didn't know what I could do other than give it some water on the way back.


View from where I turned around in the Shenandoahs. The closer ridges are what I had run up to get here. Way in the distance you can see the Massanuttens where I came from.



I was exceedingly hot at this point, but at least there was a nice breeze at this lookout.


This is where the Over Run Falls are, but they weren't really running too much since it's been dry recently

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