Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington Presidential Range

Training in New Hampshire this summer, in preparation for the Grindstone 100 mile race, I had two excellent mountain runs which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the region. You may want to hike, not run, particularly the Presidential Range, but I''l share it with you from a runner's perspective. My husband, Erik, and I ran to the top of Mt. Chocorua, one extremely humid morning. The deer flies were thick, and the mosquitoes swarmed around our heads, even though we were drenched in bug spray. We let Harry Potter run off leash as there were few other hikers on the trail. The route we took was about 8 miles, and it quickly led us above the tree line. It's always fun to reach the tree line and to begin to breath in the scent of pine and take in views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. Harry Potter had no problem until we reached the sheer rock face. He probably would have been able to find a way up to the very tippy top, but as he was new to mountain running, we decided that I would sit with him while Erik ran to the top and back down to us. Potter put his head down and immediately fell asleep while waiting for Erik's return. He is an incredibly efficient runner. He runs, rests, cools his body in the streams, stays well-hydrated, and when resting, he falls asleep. I will try to remember all of this for the 100 miler, particularly the part about sleeping. Sometimes a short nap is all you need to get up and run another fifty miles. Later in the summer, I ran part of the Presidential Range, about 14 miles in total, alone with Potter. We started at the base of the Cog Railway, and ascended the Jewel Trail. Only about 4 miles long, this trail heads up, and up and up. You travel over 4000 feet in 4 miles, and at some point, I found myself hiking, no longer running, and wishing I had taken the longer, less rocky and less steep, Crawford Trail. Once we hit the top of Mt. Washington, we had a snack, then headed over to Mt. Jefferson, then on to Mt. Adams. About the time we had Adams in our sights, I decided it was time to check out Potter's paws. His pads were wearing thin, and concerned that they might crack and bleed and become too sore to run, we cut our trip short and turned around. This was a good move because by the time we returned to our car, after 6-7 hours of running/hiking, we were both tired and he was ready for a nap. In fact, he slept for the rest of the day, and all of the next day. He's a good, faithful dog. He has also taught me much about endurance running. Again, I will try to follow his instruction and get some sleep following my 100 miler.