Monday, August 30, 2010

Bradbury and Redstone

Saturday, Kevin and I mountain biked at Bradbury State Park in Pownal, Maine. This is only about 45 miles from our home. I rode there once before and thought it was OK, but nothing spectacular. Kevin has ridden there alone since then and said it was better than we remembered it being. He was right, Saturday it seemed much better! The trails had been wet and muddy on our first trip there. It was the kind of mud that just bogs you down, fine for running through but a drag (literally) to ride through. So I didn't get a good feel for the flow of the trails on my first outing there. On Saturday conditions were much better.

We rode all the East side trails together, except for the "O" trail (I'll get to that in a minute). There wasn't anything too challenging for me, except for the high bridge, which I chose to take the detour around. The rest of it was fun and fast with little technical patches here and there to keep me on my toes. After riding for a while I asked Kevin if I should ride the "O" trail. It is an "expert" trail and I'm no expert. Normally, if I ask Kevin if he thinks I can ride something he will say "sure, you can do it," whether I really can or not. So when his reply was, "hmmmmmm..." I decided that after we were done with all the other trails we would go back to the truck so I could stow my bike and change into running shoes for the "O" Trail..

It was great running the "O" trail behind Kevin as he biked it. Watching Kevin is a good way for me to learn mountain bike skills. There was a lot of trail I could have ridden, but there was also some stuff I would have had to get off my bike for. It's a nice trail to run on, but I might try to ride it next time. I'll just be prepared to get off and walk the bike in some spots.

Sunday we rode from Pudding Pond in North Conway. We biked out on trails we have ridden before and then went looking for an elusive trail a woman had hinted to us about a few months ago. I think it's a mountain biker thing, they never tell you exactly where a trail is or where it goes to. They just hint about it. We found a nice single track trail that had to be it. It climbed and climbed and climbed. At one point, Kevin said it couldn't climb any higher because there was only sky around us. Then it climbed some more any way.

I believe we were heading over toward the back of Cranmore, but there are a lot of woods in there. We had already been out for hours so when we hit a service road we decided to head back toward the quarry over the service roads. Kevin has a good sense of direction and he kept choosing the correct turns and eventually brought us right back to the place where we had started down that trail. From there we rode some really nice single track back to the truck. It wasn't until we stopped riding that we realized how hot and wiped out we were. I had to sit for a minute before I got up the strength to change my shoes. It turned out that it was actually 93 degrees out!

Tomorrow I will do my long run from Pudding Pond and find out where that trail goes. My curiosity is killing me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back Pain

Not much to report on recent running or biking over the past few days. I took Sunday as a rest day after MMD. I felt great, other than some very tired quads. Monday I woke up in the morning with lower back pain. It improved through the day but still warranted a day off from running or biking. I took a long walk instead. Tuesday I woke up with even worse lower back pain which made me take another day of just walking. Then at about 4 o'clock this morning I woke up (and probably woke everyone else in the house up too) with extreme lower back spasms that almost made me convulse right out of bed.

I did have one good fall coming down from Mt Jefferson during MMD on Saturday. I would have landed on my butt, but instead my butt fell nicely into a space in the rocks. I slammed my right forearm down on the rocks on the side. It didn't really hurt, but gave all the hikers in Madison Hut something to gawk at as Kevin and I joked about my "broken arm" which was very swollen and mis-shapen by then. It has since turned purple and black from wrist to elbow, and still doesn't hurt. But I digress... I might have wrenched my back on that fall. I don't know why it didn't give me any trouble until two days later, but that is all I can think of that could have caused this back problem.

Today I couldn't go to work. I needed help sitting up and getting out of bed. I went to see my crazy chiropractor. He gave me a good scolding about what a mess my back and hips were and wondered what in hell I had done to my arm. He wasn't impressed with the 32 miles of mountain running I had done Saturday. In fact, he seemed a bit disgusted with me. He snapped and cracked and wrenched and twisted me until I couldn't move anything without crying out in pain. To this he replied, "There, I think we got it."

I hurt like heck all the way home, but it is suddenly easing up! That's the thing with my chiropractor, he's a total nut, but he really helps me when I need it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

MMD 2010

At midnight on Friday, a small group of determined runners and fast hikers started off from the Dolly Copp Campground for the annual MMD Fun Run. There were a lot of new faces this year. In previous years a few guys would take off fast at the start, but most attendees would start at a relaxed pace with lots of conversation and laughter. This year, when Jonathon said "go" I heard a woman up front yell "Let's Shake and Bake!" A few guys let out macho sounding grunts and the entire field took off at a mad sprint down the road to the Imp Trail head. I muttered "what the f#ck?" and followed. I would later learn that Steve P had been actively recruiting younger faster blood for this event. I was one of the few there with older slower blood.

I found myself travelling alone through the dark. It was good for me because usually at night I have other people or course markings to rely on to keep me on trail. This time I had to pay attention and be careful. I found myself enjoying it. After a while I passed a guy, then two women and another guy travelling together, and later another woman travelling alone. This last woman fell in behind me. I gained a lot of ground on her on the climbs, but as soon as things levelled out or started heading down hill she would close the gap. She was using trekking poles on the technical stretches and I got used to hearing the click click click at varying distances behind me. Every time I started wondering if I was still on the right trail, I would just slow down a little and listen for the clicking. It was very reassuring! When I stopped at an intersection to check the map, she caught up and we talked. I learned that she was Patty from Springfield, Mass.

I climbed over The Imp, Middle Carter, and South Carter. The moon and stars were spectacular! At the top of Mt Hight I turned off in the wrong direction. This led to a dead end. I tried another direction and it did the same. I wandered around a bit and then headed back towards the comforting sound of trekking poles clicking against rock. Patty was wandering around in the dark looking for the trail, too. Together we found it and continued on at our own paces over the Wildcats as the sun came up.

At the ski slope we were supposed to go down any way we wanted and check in near the base lodge. Patty was no where in sight so I was on my own. I chose the longer cleared trail, Pole Cat. This had just been used for the Wildman Biathlon. The other trails were a mile or more shorter, but had tall grass and brambles. I learned this the hard way last year.

I was running down at a good clip and patting myself on the back for choosing a runnable trail, when a cow moose with two calves stepped out of the thick woods directly into my path. I stopped and talked to her. This just made the calves curious and they started walking towards me. The adult didn't like this and acted a little threatening. I ducked behind a rusted old Kubota tractor that was conveniently sitting in the trail. I yelled for them to "move along!!!" but they just started grazing. Every time I would attempt to start moving past them, the cow would get annoyed with me. This went on for at least twenty minutes. I later learned that several guys up front had been held up by this same moose family. Finally the moose family started to slowly move down the trail and I could stroll slowly behind them without annoying Mom too much. I was very happy when they turned off onto a side trail and I could start running again.

Jonathon, Rick, Patrick (who had decided to drop), and Kevin were at the base. I ate a sandwich, refilled my Camelback, and chatted a little. Just as I was ready to move on, Patty came running in. She asked if I would wait so we could tackle Huntington together. Now, that's the camaraderie I remembered from past years! I agreed and the deal was done. We hiked together the rest of the day.

Huntington has never seemed so easy! In the past I have done this stretch with guys in a hurry. They just forged ahead and guessed at the difficult route over the steep rock face. I would struggle along behind as we kept getting into sticky situations with bad hand holds or dead ends. It was always terrifying. This time Patty and I took our time, looking ahead for the faint infrequent blazes so we could take the safest route through. It was great!

As the day wore on I saw that we were going slower than I had planned, but I thought this was fine. I felt really good and was enjoying the day. The sun was out until late afternoon and the views were fantastic! We climbed over Mt Washington, Mt Clay, Mt Jefferson, and Mt Adams. We found Kevin near the Madison Hut. He and I had agreed that Kevin would hike up from camp and meet me near Mt Adams so we could spend part of the day hiking together. On the technical climb up Mt Madison and then down the difficult part of Daniel Webster Trail, Kevin and Patty were well matched in pace and I went ahead enjoying the rock scrambling. I would wait so we could regroup periodically. When the trail got smoother and less steep, Patty took off at our urging. Kevin and I hiked out together to finish up a great day in the mountains!

Back at the campground there was plenty of food and beer and good company. I have no idea who finished first or what my own time or finishing place was, and I don't care. MMD is billed as a "fun run." I had fun, so I won.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Thursday Hill Repeats Today...

because I have to save my legs for the 13400 feet of climb I will be doing Saturday. To put MMD in perspective, I ran the Pemi Loop early last year in under 11 hours. I think MMD took me 16 hours for the same distance last year. The MMD course changes from year to year, but the description of this year's course sounds suspiciously similar to last year's. I think Jonathon is getting lazy. That's OK, so am I.

Today I ran for an hour at a relaxed pace on flat single track. I needed to run because I spent all morning doing clerical type work in my home office. I had stacks of paper piled everywhere, two computers running and the FAX machine humming. Plus it didn't help that I was writing out my bills and looking at Facebook each time I had to wait for data to move through cyberspace. Zoey the cat was walking around the desk throwing things on the floor and hiding important documents by sitting on them. I was a little frazzled by the time I signed off. Enough stress, today is my day off! The trails really helped clear my head.

My legs feel fresh and strong. I will do a little mountain bike ride with Kevin later today and maybe my P90X strength work tonight. I think I'll be fine for MMD even though I haven't been out to the mountains as often as usual this year. From the little bit of mountain running I have done this year, I can see that the mountain biking, strength work, and road hill repeats have really made my legs strong for climbing. I'm ready!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Slow Twitch, Fast Twitch

Yesterday I ran 5 miles of easy trails with strides in the morning. I felt good and wanted to do more. Instead, I channeled all that energy into crossing things off my dreaded errand list. I got a lot done! In the late afternoon, I pumped up the tires and brushed off the dust on my road bike. The poor thing has been neglected since early Spring because mountain biking is just so much more fun! It's kind of like comparing road running to trail running. On foot or on wheels, roads are boring and trails are fun.

I was curious to see how my mountain biking fitness would translate into road biking fitness. When I have road biked more in past years, I usually start off in the Spring with an average of about 15 MPH on these hilly country roads and get up to 17 and 18 toward the end of summer (I'm no bicycle racer). Yesterday I rode around the time of day when everyone was coming home from their jobs in Portland. The roads around here are only a single lane in each direction and most don't have paved shoulders. So I did a particularly hilly loop around the back roads of Porter and South Hiram to stay away from traffic. I felt fast! It seems that mountain biking the technical single track at a slow pace (necessary for me and my bike to stay upright) has actually made my legs very strong! I averaged over 17MPH on yesterday's road ride and wasn't pushing hard at all.

This is a lot different than the way trail running translates into road running. When I only run on single track trails I get very strong, but very slow. I guess it all has to do with fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. To run fast you have to turn over fast and use those fast twitch fibers. And fast twitch fibers are like so many things in that you have to use them or lose them. On the bike, I can power through on the road or trail without a fast cadence (although you're supposed to turn over fast for efficiency on the road bike). In other words, On the bike I can compensate for my lack of speed with muscle.

Not so with running. I miss running fast. That is why I have started incorporating strides on my runs and have been moving off the technical single track and onto the tote roads and even the pavement for some of my runs. I even have plans to start a little speed work in a few weeks. This will be too late to help me for my goal race at Pisgah, but I might try to race something shorter later in the fall. Mostly, I just want to feel fast again, whether I race or not.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tough Mountain Run Coming Up

This coming weekend I will be running MMD (More and More Difficult) through the Carters and Northern Presidentials. This event really kicks my butt. In past years I have really had to struggle to get through the last few hours. Last year race organizer, Jonathon moved the start from Saturday morning to midnight on Friday. Finishing in the late afternoon Saturday felt a lot easier to me than struggling into camp in the evening as in prior years. The midnight start is a little inconvenient, but worth it! I think it also saves Jonathon the stress of waiting up and worrying all night Saturday for stragglers to come down from the mountains.

I have one DNF there, and that was because after getting soaked by rain and hail I just couldn't stay warm. Most of the field dropped that year. I'm hoping for good weather this year, but anything can happen in the Presidentials. In an event like this common sense about staying safe has to come before Ego. I wouldn't hesitate to get down from the mountains fast if I got cold like that again this year.

This morning I tried out Kevin's larger Camelback to see if that will work for me at MMD. My own Camelback doesn't hold much besides water. His has more storage capacity. It felt good so I think I'll use it. Other concerns I need to address are shoes (must have good traction for Huntington), fuel (don't want to have to purchase a hot dog at the top of Mt Washington), and what to carry and wear (don't want to freeze my a*# off again). Also, if it is bike race weekend again this year, how to avoid all those crazy spandex clad cyclists waiting in line to get their pictures taken with their bikes on the Mt Washington summit. Egad, that is definitely a mood spoiler!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spaghetti Legs

Thursday hill repeats had to wait until today. On Wednesday I tripped on a client's cement door step and somehow bruised, sprained, or fractured my little toe on my right foot. I thought it strange that I hit the little toe and not the big one but Kevin pointed out that I am a bit pigeon toed, just another of the many things that make me so very cool. Anyway, I ran easy on both Wednesday and Thursday with the toe splinted. I did the splinting myself and it worked great! Today I was ready to test it on my weekly hill repeats.

I have been adding one 0.6 mile repeat each week and was scheduled for 5 repeats today. I was actually a little nervous starting out because I wasn't sure I had five of them in me. I left the heart rate monitor at home today because I didn't want to complicate things. I ran up as hard as I could and jogged slowly back down. Usually I am out earlier, but I had work to do this morning and didn't get started until 10:30 or 11:00. There were a lot of people out in their yards and I was a little self conscious about all my huffing and puffing and groaning and sweating.

My legs felt like cooked spaghetti on the last climb, something I haven't worked hard enough to experience in a very long time. I know from experience that when I get "cooked spaghetti legs" I am only a few steps from tossing my cookies on the side of the road. Then to make it worse, about 200 yards before the top of the climb a little rat sized dog came running out of nowhere and started biting at my ankles and trying to trip me up. I ashamed of it, but I tried to kick him. Don't worry, I missed. It did slow me down and it pissed me off a little, but I finished the hill strong with the dog yipping and biting at me in a ball of frenzied excitement.

Today's average pace for the climbs was 9:04! This is down from an average of 9:40 last week. I'm making good progress.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Red Rock Quarry Run and Ride

I wanted to mountain bike today. It's addictive! And the more comfortable and skilled I get at it, the more fun and addictive it is. I can see myself in about ten years doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and mountain biking. There's probably a ten step program for this problem and I'll look into it when the time comes.

I decided to drive over to North Conway and park at the Pudding Pond Conservation area and loop over to Red Rock Quarry and back. My scheduled longish run (only 8-10 miles this week because it is a rest week on my schedule) could be followed with some awesomely fun and challenging mountain biking on the single track there! The run went fine. Actually, (let's be honest here) I just wanted to get it done so I could get on the bike! I ran quite fast for those technical trails with 3200 feet of climbing! I even caught myself bending over with my hands on my knees gasping like a 100 meter sprinter at the top of one of the climbs. This is good stuff! I really don't work very hard in my training most of the time. Today I ran 8.37 miles in 1:43, which is about 12:20 pace. It doesn't sound like much, but if you saw the trails, you'd be impressed!

But more importantly, I finished quick enough to get on the bike for a good long ride. The first half mile or so of my ride was a little difficult by my standards. I climbed up the High Trail, which is rocky and rooty with a pretty good incline. I kept stopping and looking ahead. Then I'd tell myself "you can do it. At least try it." And I'd try it and end up putting a foot down, or stopping, or (on one occasion) falling off the bike. But once that stretch was over, it was nicely challenging, but do-able. My quads were tired from the run but boy, did I have fun!

Tomorrow will be an easy 4 miles with strides. I'll probably take the show on the road (pavement) so I can run a single digit per mile pace for a change. I'll try to stay off the bike, but I'm not making any promises.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Mountain Biking Weekend

We spent another great weekend in East Burke, Vermont mountain biking the Kingdom Trails. Saturday we put in a lot of hard fast (for me) miles. I wanted to ride a few of the trails that have given me problems in the past, and it went very well. I think part of the problem I was having on some of the more technical trails last time we were there had to do with a combination of wet slippery roots on the trails and a mis-adjusted front suspension on my bike. Somehow my suspension had become set to be very rigid without my noticing. Kevin fixed this and also made a minor adjustment to my saddle, moving it forward a bit. This really helps me gain traction on the steep downhills because now I can drop my butt back behind the seat.

Saturday evening we chose to avoid the brewfest and instead had a nice dinner and enjoyed a few drinks in the mellower atmosphere inside the Tamarack Grill. Thanks to my love of a good Zinfandel, I soon befriended an old gentleman who had very recently lost his wife. Eighty-plus-year-old Barney now has our address and an open invitation to "drop by anytime". This morning I jokingly warned Kevin that he might come home from work and find Barney and me soaking in the hot tub and enjoying a few drinks.

Sunday we had a BIG breakfast at the Miss Lyndonville Diner and then drove over to the trail parking at Mountain View Farm. In the last 24 hours I had overindulged in mountain biking, wine drinking, and breakfast eating. As soon as we parked I reclined my seat in the truck and told Kevin I needed to take a nap. Ten minutes later my eyes popped open and I announced "I'm ready to ride!"

We had another perfect day of riding. We hit some of the trails that I haven't been on much and a few that I have never ridden. We did a huge amount of climbing. I don't notice it so much while I am actually riding because none of the climbs are very long and there is always a nice rewarding down after every up. But by the end of the ride, my legs were kind of shaky and my quads were getting sore and tired. We stopped on the way home for an Iron Mike's Pale Ale and a burger at the Moat Mt Brewery. Back home, we were in bed and asleep by 8:30.

This morning I dreaded how tired my legs were going to feel for my planned 4 mile run with strides . This stride thing comes from Jack Daniels (the running coach, not the drink.) He prescribes this as a transition from slow base building to speed work. I would like to find a little of that old spring in my step and I think the strides are moving me in that direction. This is my second week of including strides on my easy runs. I speed up to something just short of a sprint for 40 or 50 strides and then jog until I feel completely recovered before doing my next one. I do 8 to 12 of these in the middle of a four or five mile easy run. I've been doing them on straight stretches of trail, dirt roads, pavement, and school athletic fields. Today I ran the single track trails near the river and was very surprised by how good I felt.

The rest of today is reserved for cleaning up my flower beds and working in the vegetable garden. In other words, loafing around in the yard and soaking up the sun.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Morning Hill Repeats

I'm not very good about routines and rigid schedules. I find it more interesting to "mix it up a little" or "play it by ear." I don't do my grocery shopping or clean my house on the same day each week, I don't have certain meals on certain days of the week, and I don't have a particular time of day I do my runs or my strength training. In fact, the only thing that has been regular about my training schedule is that I do my long runs on Tuesdays. Then last week I decided Thursdays would be hill repeats. And I started doing my P90X strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also, I seem to cross train on the mountain bike almost every Saturday and Sunday. If I didn't know myself better, I'd say I was starting to get into some sort of predictable training routine. Oh well, as long as it doesn't get boring, I guess it's OK.

Today's plan was for four 0.6 mile hill repeats at an average pace that was faster than last week's. Last week I averaged exactly 10 minute miles on the ups (Hey, give me a break. It's a steep hill!) and my heart rate averaged 172 on three climbs. Today I did four climbs at an average of 9:40 pace with an average heart rate of 168 on the climbs. Funny how this thing called training works, I'm already making progress! Next week will be five hill repeats and I'll try for a faster average pace. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Random Stuff

The day after we returned from our backpacking excursion, Kevin and I took the mountain bikes out to the Moats. Our legs were sore and tired starting out, but riding that nice flowing single track really loosened them up and we both felt a lot better toward the end of the ride...except for the climb back up the Mineral Site Trail switchbacks. There was definitely some residual fatigue in my quads that made that part tough.

Yesterday I wanted to run 16 or 17 miles on hilly trails. After running a few errands in the early morning, I parked over in North Parsonsfield and ran 4.1 mile loops over the old Hobbs Swamp Rd (hilly rocky dirt tote road) and the Chase Rd (paved back road with a mile of steep uphill each loop). I felt like crap right from the start. I started out at 9 minute pace and things went downhill from there.

I have a 30 minute/1 hour rule for the days my running feels lousy. On short runs I give myself 30 minutes of running and if I still feel bad, I quit for the day. On long runs, it's an hour. The way I see it is that if I feel that bad, my body must need an easy day for rest and recovery. Yesterday each loop was worse than the one before and I definitely should have quit after an hour. I toughed it out and felt terrible for the rest of the day and have no desire to run this morning (but I will.)

What's ahead?
1. I am going to do a mid week Pemi Loop within the next few weeks. I've done this loop several times but always had company on the trail for at least part of it or outside support at one point or another. This year I'd like to do it solo.

2. Yesterday I received an email telling me that most of my trail friends will not be running MMD on August 21st for various reasons. I think I will still go, even though it has always been a social outing as much as a good physical challenge. I'm sure I will know a few people there, and if not there will be plenty of time on the trail to get to know people.

3. Vermont 50 Mt Bike race is on my calendar, but I have not had any responses to my plea for someone to switch work weekends with me, so it might not happen.

4. Mt Pisgah 50K will be on September 19th. It's hard to believe, but that will only be my third trail race of the year. Truthfully, I'm having a lot of fun doing other things right now!

5. I would really like to run at the Maine Track Club 50K/50M in October. I believe this will be the 30th year for this event. Some runners new to the ultra scene scoff at this road loop event but that is how many of the early ultras were run, FAST on road loops. There is a lot of historical significance to this event with several big names attempting national records there. My 50K(4:08?) and 50M (7:05?) PRs were both run there, back when I could run faster :) For the past 6 or 7 years my degenerative spine problems have prevented me from running on roads for more than a few miles at a time. But there is a dirt shoulder there that might make it possible for me to participate.

Looking farther ahead...I read the top 30 female 5K times run in Maine in 2010 in the Portland Press Herald yesterday and started thinking... 5K on the spine could take 5K of pavement... intervals, reps, Fartlek...bouncing around in a bundle of nerves at the starting line...Taking off fast and holding that pace until the end, even with my head spinning from lack of oxygen...slumping over in a heap after the finish... I wonder if I still have it in me. When I gave up road racing I told everyone, I'm not saying never!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekend Backpack

Kevin and I had a great time backpacking in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness over the weekend. We traveled light since we're both perfectly happy living a few days on instant oatmeal and Ramon Noodles.

The Bickford Brook Trail up to the summit of Speckled Mountain is well maintained with easy footing. It climbs steadily from the parking area at Brickett Place. Originally, we had planned to continue on over the summit and camp somewhere along the Great Brook Trail. But as we hiked Bickford Brook, it became evident that the area was extremely dry. There was not a drop of water anywhere. Just over the summit of Speckled there is a spring. So we decided that if there was any water at the spring, we would camp on Speckled for the night. We dropped our packs at the summit and enjoyed a snack. Then we explored the area, finding a few shallow pools of water at the spring. We made the decision to stay there, not knowing if we would find any more water if we continued. We hiked around a little bit and then set up camp. We found the trails beyond the summit of Speckled extremely rough and difficult to follow. This is a "wilderness area" and by definition, most of the trails are not blazed or maintained.

The views from the rocky top of Speckled are fantastic! For a small mountain (2906 ft) it was very impressive. Looking North we could see Caribou Mountain. To the South and West are Baldface, the Carters, and the Presidentials. It was clear enough on Friday afternoon to get a good view of Mt Washington. We were joined on the top by a group of teenage girls and their male chaperon. They decided to sleep in their bags right on the rocky summit. Kevin made a nice campfire and we enjoyed it's warmth before turning in for the night. The night was cold, but we were very comfortable. Kevin and I had set up our tent in a nice sheltered area close to the summit. We heard the wind howling all night, but our spot was so sheltered that the tent fabric never even rustled. The girls lay in their sleeping bags with jackets, gloves, and hats on, but by the sound of their snoring I think they slept well.

The next day we hiked West over very rugged trails, taking just my small Gregory Backpack with only the essentials for a day hike and leaving our camping gear at our campsite. It's a nice pack and I could cinch it down to the size of a large day pack. This was a good thing, because we had to climb over, under, and around many fallen trees. We met two backpackers heading toward Speckled and learned that we had made the right decision to camp on Speckled. They had been without water because everything was dried up. They also told us that the trails further on were pretty much non-existent. We hiked on and found this to be true.

When we had enough of our weekend wilderness experience, we hiked back down to our vehicle over the Blueberry Ridge Trail. This is wide open ledge for much of the way. It was easy going on flat smooth rocks with sunshine and gorgeous views! I said something like, "I should hike with a 30 pound pack all the time! I'd build so much strength and fitness!" Then we came to a one mile stretch of steep rocky descent before the junction with Bickford Brook Trail that was quite challenging with the backpacks. Trying to keep the descent under control was amazingly hard on the legs. After struggling over this for some time, Kevin reminded me that just a short time earlier I had wanted to lug that thirty pound pack around all the time for training. Okay, maybe I didn't feel that way anymore.

We really enjoyed spending time in the woods together, but the hot tub and our comfortable bed sure felt nice when we got home! We plan to get back out to day hike Caribou Mountain in the future. Also, I think going up Bickford Brook to the top of Speckled and then down Blueberry Ridge would be very runnable and enjoyable other than that one steep loose mile, which I'd have to walk. So that will be a trail run for me sometime soon.