Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hurricane Mountain Run

I headed out to North Conway for a run in the mountains today. I parked my car in town and ran up the plowed portion of Hurricane Mountain Rd with my Stabilicers on. The roads were covered with hard packed snow and it was nice running. I didn't know what kind of conditions I would find when I reached the gate that closed the middle portion to vehicles in the winter. In past winters the closed portion of Hurricane Mountain Road has been well packed by foot traffic up to the top and then snowmobiles down to the other end of the road. I planned to run to the top and then follow Black Cap Trail to the summit of Black Cap. Brian had suggested Black Cap as a good run when I saw him at the last snowshoe race. Then I would continue to the other end of Hurricane Mt Rd, turn around, and run back the entire length to my car.

When I reached the gate, I found the trail was fairly well packed by snowshoe hikers. It was a little soft, but definitely runnable. I usually walk some of the steeper sections of this climb, even in the summer on clear roads. Today I was able to run the entire way to the highest point on Hurricane Mountain Rd. This is about 2miles of climb with an average grade of 15% (according to the road sign at the top). It wasn't fast or pretty, barely a forward trudge at times, but it felt good to be able to huff and puff my way all the way up without walking.

I turned off the road onto well packed snowmobile trail all the way to the top of Black Cap. I did have to walk a few short stretches of this trail, but not much. The views from the top were beautiful. It was a very clear day and Mt Washington looked close enough to reach out and touch. I'm sure my photos won't do it justice.

I ran back down Black Cap Trail to the top of Hurricane Mountain Rd and then continued on to the gate at the opposite end of the road from where I had started. The sign going down this side warned that it was a 17% grade for 1 1/4 miles. It was softly packed snowmobile trail. Let me tell you, running straight downhill on softly packed snow at a 17% grade is a blast! I flew down that hill. I tried not to think about having to climb back up. I did eventually have to turn around and run back up that same grade. This was a mix of fast walking and slow running. On the very steepest part as I was marching along, a skier went whooshing by on his way down. Now that looked like fun!

I ran over the top and back down to the plowed section of road. A lot of the snow had melted since I had started in the morning. I took off my Stabilicers and ran on blacktop back to the car. It was an exhausting run. But it felt so good to get off the streets for my run today. According to my map, it was 14.6 miles of running in 3 hours 17 minutes. I did 2769 feet of climb and descent. I actually figured all that out, I think I'm turning into some sort of running nerd.

After my run I went over to see my Tuesday Training Partner. We have run together on Tuesdays for years. We are both nurses and have non-typical work schedules. We both happened to have Tuesdays off so we started running in the mountains on Tuesdays. When I switched jobs I made sure I could still have Tuesdays off so I could keep running with my friend. But now she hasn't run in months because of medical issues. Today she told me she can start walking with me next Tuesday. So the plan is for me to run first, then meet her for a walk. I am looking forward to walking together. If you have been anywhere near North Conway on a Tuesday and heard wild hoots of laughter echoing from the hills, it was probably us. We have a lot of fun together. I have missed our runs!

I am a very small person. Sometimes I forget that I'm small. Today I got a reminder of just how puny I am. Before leaving my friend's house her 10-year-old daughter said she had a question she had been wanting to ask me for a long time. I told her to go ahead. She asked me in a very serious voice, "are you a dwarf?" When I said no, she asked if I was maybe "half dwarf." I headed home laughing.

No comments:

Post a Comment