Impression

Day 103

I have been to many great hikes. Last weekend was one of those perfect hikes. In term of work out, It was about there. I wasn’t totally exhausted but I got blisters, probably from getting my shoes wet. I got chaffing, probably from wearing cotton clothing. My hips was bruised from carry the weight of the sack, my friend was saying what do I carry in that thing. I brought more than enough food to eat. It was just perfect but my friend had the Friday meal ready for me. She also gave me ‘brownies’ that was good for lunch. We hiked out early on Sunday. So I saved three meals. I had about three meals left over.

One thing I learned was I need to get the system down. I have been out a dozen of time but it still feels like 4 or 5 times. I still don’t know what to do or how to pack. It took me too long to organize or get dress in the morning. Twenty some minutes to take off my clothes or putting them on is way too long :). And I only had one set.

Routines. Routine is good. I need to get myself down on routine. Like what to eat and how to cook. Even boiling water took me longer than my friend who cooked her entire meal.

Bearbag. Yup. I forgot how to do the PCT style hang. It took me too much time getting the robe over the tree. Got to remember to bring a small pouch to put a rock in to throw it over the tree. It was just unbelievable. There were many things I felt I know, but actually doing them, they felt like the first time.

I slept great. I love sleeping next to the creek and also on the ridge.

Another thing I appreciate from this hike was it was a preview of the run I will be doing in two weeks. My run will be on the road but it will have similar elevation change as the hike was. I will be running on Blue Ridge Parkway.

The whole hike was generally peaceful. I had no great alarming thoughts. I was feeling generally calm and happy. My life was peaceful. In the past, hikes provide me a mean of escape, this time, I was not running from anything. It was as pleasant as a walk in the park.

Torry Ridge BP

Day 102

It was a beautiful hike. My friend and I spent a couple days doing 20+ miles. The first night, we hiked a mile to the camp site. There were three other people there already. They happily let us shared the camp. They were using hammocks and so there were still room for us to pitch our tents.

We got up at usual backpacking time, and after breakfast we set out. There were a brief rain for maybe 30-45 minutes. We actually got back to the car and sat until the storm passed, since there was no rush.

We hiked a short loop, 20 Minutes Cliff/Overlook — that was what it was called. It think it took us more than 20 minutes to that.

We then got to the Slack Trail Overlook and continued hiking up on the Slack Trail to Torry Ridge. We did the whole trail and reach Sherando Lake. We stopped for a twenty minutes lunch. The lake was a popular spot. We saw several other families out and about at the lake. But we pressed on since there were some rough climbing for the rest of the day.

He hiked up Torry Ridge again, and that was a tough climb with a full stomach. The rest of the hike was not so clear to me since I didn’t look at the map for this portion. We hiked to the Torry Furnace to connect to the Mill Trail, which runs parallel to the Torry Ridge Trail. We did the whole thing and at the end we had to climb up. That was one of the most intense climb especially when we were tired (it was around 5-6 pm by now). We could have camped below in the valley by the river but we want to leave early the next day with less mileage. Based on the map, if we camp at the ridge, we only have about 5 miles to do the next day.

We met another backpacker and he said the ridge was too windy. However, we decided to press on ahead. It was indeed very windy. Luckily the temperature was warm. I was able to sleep but the wind kept my friend up.

The next day was an easy down hill hike and we were out by 10.

One of the first

Day 95

This is one of the firsts that I showed up And found out I’m not registered for it! There was something wrong with my registration because I used a race coupon and it wasn’t effective for this race (they took my coupon though), hence I didn’t know it didn’t go through. I didn’t check for a confirmation email.

Anyway things worked out, I decided not to run the 10K due to over-doong it yesterday. I need a day to recover. Hearing the registration didn’t go through was a good news. Earlier I woke up cursing to myself why I signed up and pulled myself together to get to the course. It was raining (misty). Just a relief to me. Now I can go to church! 

My weekend ended up to be Plan A – the original plan. No craziness of run a back to back race or doing a marathon. 

Hiking was fun though. Here are couple pix.

Snow and fog turned everything to black and white
Snow covered forest

Fun and Rest

Day 94 / weekend half marathon

I had one of the best races ever. I say that to every race though. But this race I set a PB. I didn’t upgrade to the full marathon and that was a very wise choice. I knew my previous record was 1:49 (hh:mm), so I lined up behind the 1:50 pace group. I was assigned to Coral 3, but the  pacing team actually lined up at the end of Coral 5. We had wave start and Coral 1-5 were part of the first wave. With a couple minutes delay between each coral. Boy did they started out fast. They knew they were going faster than pace. I followed the last pacer of the 1:50 group. He was saying if we want to finish at 1:45 we have to run at 8 min pace. And I checked my watch we we’re running at 7:45 and he agreed. He said the other pacer of the 1:50 group was even faster than him, and laughed. Later on I think after 5 miles I couldn’t keep up with them any more. I told myself I have to run at my own pace. I had no hope of breaking a record. They finished probably at 1:40. They totally left everyone behind!

My legs were heavy from the start. I think my calves were still in recovery. My breathing were surprising under control. I wasn’t breathing hard at all. I slowed down a bit at mile 5-6 because of a big hill (400 ft?). No good. I couldn’t climb it. I know next marathon is all hills 2000 ft of them. 5 times higher! That is only a month away. I got to the top and got back into my pace.

I was slowing down again at mile 11. Luckily I saw someone, and she gave me the strength to speed up again. I caught a second wind. When I crossed the finish line and looked up at the clock, unbelievable, it was 1:46 and a Personal Best (PB).

First half I had 53:10 and second half 53:33. I stopped my watched a 10 seconds late. However, still I didn’t run a negative split. 

I celebrated this by going up on the mountain in West Virginia, the Big Schloss.

The race though was in downtown DC, and there was no snow there. It was cloudy and a very decent temperature for running (3-5C?)