Archive for August, 2011


August 30, 2011

The hill looms.

It has loomed in my thoughts ever since Mike sent me my schedule. Five hill repeats at 90-95% effort. He expects each one to take about 3 minutes.

I stand at the bottom and look up. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

The hill looms.

I wish there were someone else out here to run with. I have to tackle the hill alone.

The hill looms.

Standing at the bottom looking up doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. It’s just hard to start. The hill looks so steep. It must be a 45° slope.

The hill looms.

Finally, I start my watch and run up.

I know from past experience that looking up is a bad idea. The top never gets any closer. And even when you do reach the ridgeline you find there’s another hill behind it. And when it does level out there’s another hundred yards or so of almost flat beyond that…

I push off with my toes. The trail is rutted. As I get higher up I have to veer from side to side to avoid potholes.

My breath comes in gasps. But my legs feel fine.

I reach the the point where the slope turns almost gentle and I stretch out my legs and sprint to the watertank at the end.

1:59 as I get there. Heart rate: 182 (~92%). I turn around and walk back until my breath calms a bit and then I trot down the hill.

Um. The repeat took only 2 minutes, and Mike expected 3. (I am really glad it didn’t take 3). Should I do more repeats to make up? 7 or 8 instead of 5?

Why have snails climbed up to the top of the sign? (I want to think of anything other than the hill).

I get to the bottom.

I look up.

The hill looms above me.

Somehow it isn’t any easier to start.

Eventually I do.

I feel that I’m running but getting nowhere. The ground just doesn’t move. It gets steeper. Maybe it’s 60°. My quads are killing me. I look up. The top is infinitely far away. I knew that was a bad idea.

Again I reach the place where the slope is easier and I can stretch out my legs and sprint. This is almost pleasant. Or it would be if I could breath.

2:06. Bleah. Walking and gasping. Maybe I should only do one extra repeat. I don’t think I could manage 7. Nor 8.

At the bottom again.

The hill is still there.

I turn and start up. It feels slightly easier this time.

2:03. Now I’m halfway done with my 6!

Back down. And up again.

This one is horrible. I keep looking up. The top never gets closer my feet fly but the ground doesn’t move. I have to slow down.

2:08. Gasping. Maybe 6 isn’t a good idea. Mike only told me to do 5…


I don’t want to go back up.

But I must.

I don’t feel as if I’m running now. I’m barely moving. 2:12. I ain’t doin’ another one.

When I get home, I look at the elevation profile. ~200ft gain in roughly .2 miles (~1000ft). Nowhere near a 45° incline.


August 12, 2011

The Appalachian Trail runs along the ridgeline of the mountains. Now a trail on a ridgeline will never cross a stream (because there are very few places above a ridgeline from which water could flow, and in the few places where water is above the ridge, there will always be a steeper slope some other direction than toward the ridge, so water will flow away from it rather than across it).

Of course the trail isn’t always exactly on the ridge, but there are very few stream crossings.

We were staying very close to the , but there was a short trail nearby that lead downhill toward a waterfall. It was only about a mile and a half.

After hiking for half a mile or so the trail reached a dry streambed and ran parallel to it the rest of the way. Slowly this dry bed filled with water even through no tributaries joined it and there was no obvious place where I could say “Here is a spring.”

A little further down a horse trail crossed the stream bed and churned it up into mud — which looked damper than the dry stones.

Another quarter of a mile or so and I noticed a few disjoint puddles in the streambed. There did not seem to be a flow, but there was liquid.

Then the trail dropped steeply and the next time we came back to the stream there was a steady trickle of water flowing in it.

A quarter mile below that and there was a good strong flow (remember, no tributaries)

And finally there was a rather impressive waterfall…

It was about a mile from dry stream bed to a significant waterfall. That seemed surprisingly little.