New Jersey, the ancient ancestral Anderer homeland.
Of course there were a few reasons why maybe I wasn't going to be at optimal fitness for this one. I just ran my highest mileage week in over a year and I wasn't going to drastically cut back my miles this week either. I doubled on Monday and ran quicker at Fed Hill group run in the evening. I went to the TTWSS pre-Thanksgiving meal at Outback (eating later than usual and having steak instead of carbs). I didn't go home until after 11 and got up just after 5. But I should be in better shape than I've been for a while (see highest week comment two sentences previous) and I took Wednesday off completely, so it was worth putting 100% forward to see what happens (ignoring the fact I tend to go for it once the starting gun goes). Anything sub 32 would make me happy, hopefully closer to 31 flat than 32. It's weird that I stress so much about 30-40 seconds in shorter races sometimes. 31 Wouldn't have resulted in a top 100 mug, regardless.
The start was a bit of a mess, folks were getting back from their warm-ups and just going to the front of the mass of people and stopping. They had a line for the start, but the timing strip was up from that. I think we started in front of the actual line, but that was pretty much the only thing that could happen. Folks moved back a bit, but at a point they just stopped. The race crew made announcements about only folks who run sub 6 should be right at the front, but I was expecting close to 6 flat given the way I usually start races too fast.
Race details - first miles were quick, 6:03 and then 6:13. Started to tie up after, getting through 5k in 19:25 or so. The race passed by the start/finish line around 3.5 and does an out-at-back which was demoralizing. Mile 4 had a short hill which shouldn't have been that bad, but felt tough. Finished with 31:50 on the watch, 31:45 gun time. Might have been closer to the 31:50 if the start line was indeed behind the fast folks up front. Approximately equal to a sub 40 10k and a smidge faster than the 12k 10 days ago. Progress?
On the way home I stopped at the Ebright Azimuth, which is the highest point in Delaware. It's a short trip up Naamans Road from 95, within sight of the PA border. Parked and crossed the street to the sign and the benchmark which was paradoxically in a slight depression by the sidewalk. This counts as my fifth state high point if you include DC, I've done more marathons than high points. Might need to work on that.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
I left the champagne at home and did the Hunt Trail ascent of Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, northern Maine. I took a few photos along the way, most have some clouds as they rolled through pretty consistently throughout the day. The starting elevation was around 1,000 ft and the peak is nearly a mile high at 5270 feet. The whole route is about 5 miles each way and took my sister and I over 8 hours. There was some running, but quickly it became a hard scramble over boulders. A few folks were finishing their long sections of the Appalachian Trail which was great to see. And several folks commented on the Fells Point on my shirt. The climb out of the forest became a scramble. Not necessarily harder than the one I encountered in the Tetons, but more intimidating for sure. At one point we climbed up over a sort of ridge where it dropped off quickly on both sides. I worried about it on the way down, but somehow most of it was easier going down. After quite of bit of scrambling, with a few iron bars to scale harder climbs it flatted out (relatively) into a broad, flat area. But it was still going upward. There was concern in this area about harming the endangered plant life up there. The clouds were constantly moving around us. At some points you could see them raising up as they hit the mountain. It was reminiscent of a volcano at times. The top was something else. At the bottom we spoke to a ranger who said Nation Geographic had named it the second-best summit climb and I can see why. The far side fell away drastically down to a green valley. The peak extended as a ridge to the east, the aptly named 'Knife's Edge,' a thin pile of rocks. I wanted to try climbing a bit, but the way up was enough for me at the point. At the bottom was a waterfall that races along the path. When we reached this, we knew we were close to the bottom. On to the next one. Season is running out, so maybe next year for Long's or a try again at Grand Teton.