Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/16/11: Back to the mountains

I was really excited to get back to the mountains yesterday. I hadn't made it out that way since early July, and I've been looking forward to this run for weeks.

It was a beautiful fall day with great weather and great foliage. It was a chilly 43 degrees when I started, but I didn't stay cold for long with the 1,500 foot climb over the first 3 miles. It also warmed up quickly and was in the upper 50s to upper 60s for most of the run.

There was a great breeze up when I was higher up on the mountain, and I was in all my glory listening to the wind rustling through the leaves and taking in the fall colors.

I did about 23-24 miles and overall had a pretty solid run. I felt pretty weak on the climbs and on the technical sections, which wasn't surprising as I still don't have all my strength back. I was pretty pleased with my running on the flatter sections though, and I was really able to hammer the downhills.

This is the trailhead where I started the run. I took one look at this trail with the all the foliage and knew it was going to be a good day!





Looking out to the western ridge of the Massanuttens (I'm on the eastern ridge)



The western ridge again





Very nice foliage on the mountain I'm about to run up





There were tons of wildflowers on this trail. I didn't know these flowers grew in the fall!



The near range is the western ridge of the Massanuttens again. In the distance, you can just make out the Shenandoahs. It was much clearer in person but the lighting wasn't great for this picture.



This has got to be the most runnable stretch of the 71 mile Massanutten trail, which is typically narrow and very rocky singletrack trail.


I've been running in this area for years now and have covered hundreds of miles, but somehow I never found this lake before!



The peak just above and to the right of center is where I ran from


You can see the Shenandoahs much more clearly in the background. This was a great view, and the visibility was fantastic.


This is how the week ended up looking:


  • Saturday: Off

  • Sunday: 28 miles with Chicago marathon in 3:33

  • Monday: 2 miles easy

  • Tuesday: 11 miles in ~ 7:50

  • Wednesday: 7 miles easy in downtown Chicago

  • Thursday: 7 miles in 7:45

  • Friday: 10 miles easy

  • Total: 65 miles

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