After sleeping in a bit later than expected this past Saturday, I found myself crunched for training time. While I knew that Rob and I would be putting in a big hike on Sunday, the poor Tobster was in desperate need of exercise, so I wanted to get in a good workout if at all possible. Leaving Manchester around 11am, I decided to venture up to Waterville Valley and pay a visit to one of my favorite little mountains.
At 4,003 feet in height, Mt. Tecumseh is the smallest of New Hampshire’s four-thousand foot peaks. The trail up to the summit is 2.5 miles in length, and climbs ~2,200 feet (with an additional 50 feet of climbing on the return). Always looking to improve my uphill endurance, I figured it would be fun to do a few “repeats” on the mountain. Even though the ski area was busy that afternoon, miraculously I managed to score a parking spot right at the base of the trailhead. I decided to go somewhat light up top and heavy down low, pairing my UltrAspire Omega race vest with Kahtoola MTN 24 snowshoes. Since my only goal was to get some good climbing in, I was not too concerned about pace or time. I did, however, decide to track my splits for each repeat.
The initial journey up the mountain was wonderful, as I had the pleasure of running into two of my good hiking friends. Moreover, I was thrilled to find that snow conditions were just about as perfect as they could possibly be. It became increasingly blustery as I neared the summit cone, so upon reaching the top I snapped a quick picture and promptly began my descent.
Jogging down the mountain was an absolute dream in the fresh powder, and I finished up my first loop in 1:35:23. Toby looked somewhat confused when I promptly turned around and headed back up the trail, but his confusion soon turned to excitement when he realized we’d be staying out a while longer.
I received a few inquisitive looks from hikers as I made my second ascent. In retrospect, it must have seemed quite funny to see a girl hiking up the same mountain for a second time! Regardless, I was so happy to be outdoors that I couldn’t help but smile. The pup and I were forced to dodge a few rogue snowboarders on the steeper sections of the trail, but other than a few stops for snowshoe adjustments we were able to push straight up to the summit. Since it was still quite windy, we didn’t linger for too long. I quickly grabbed a PocketFuel (which I would warm up in my chest pocket during the trip down) and jogged back to the trailhead. We clocked our second loop at 1:35:03 – slightly faster than the former, but also without chat breaks with friends! Checking my watch, I was pleased to see that we’d have time for one more trip up the mountain…
With a 100 miler coming up next month, I’ve started the process of trying to find solid foods that agree with me during my longer runs. For races of 50 miles or less, I’m able to fuel myself entirely with the SFH Endurance Line and Honey Stinger / Vega Sport gels. However, during my last two 100s I have needed to take in solid food to keep my energy levels up – and it’s something that I absolutely dread. Unfortunately, due to my entirely-all-too-uncooperative-and-ridiculously-too-sensitive stomach, I end up struggling considerably as soon as I deviate from my liquid fuel strategy. Therefore, I was excited to give PocketFuel a shot for my final trip up to the summit.
The flavor was just fantastic, as was the consistency. Most importantly, I seemed to get a nice surge of energy from the product and was thrilled to find that it agreed very well with this finicky belly of mine. Toby and I cranked up the peak, where I snapped a final summit shot. Third time’s the charm…
Our jog down must have been our fastest, too, as we wrapped up our final loop in 1:31:36. What’s not to love about negative splits? Another day, another workout… I headed home as happy as could be, though my poor (frosted) pup was quite glum that the adventure was now over.
…of course, I reassured him that we’d be heading out for many more miles in the day to follow.