Saturday was Kimber's first run ever on Wolf, and she was really pumped for it. We didn't get out till around 11:30, so the trail was busy, but most everyone was very courteous when they saw us come running up to or by them. We stopped a couple of times for a picture break or two, so it wasn't a all out effort, just a fun time on the hills. Kimber did really well and finished pretty pumped up. She is going to have a great time running the Hell Hike in Pittsfield.
Here she is powering up one of the climbs
Ah Sunday. 4 loops of the dreaded Wolf. This was a good practice run for Pittsfield as it is a 4 loop course too. I set up an aid station in the trunk of the car that I used for refueling and cloths changing (Shirts/Hats/Gloves) similar to what I am planning for Pittsfield. I ran the loops alternating directions, so aside from the first 1/2km section it was not too boring.
Loop1 - Clockwise. Legs felt fresh and springy, so I focused on keeping the pace slow as it was going to be a long morning. Focused on short strides and quick turnover. Practiced "skiing" some of the steeper downhill sections. Decided that for these loops there would be no stopping, I had to run each loop without any break. I would allow as long as needed at the car/aid station but had to be constantly moving on the loops. Finished the loop in 56:59 which was 4 mins faster than the previous weekend. I was a little worried I had gone out a little too hard, but I didn't feel like I had pushed.
Loop2 - Counter Clockwise. This I think is the harder direction as it climbs pretty constant for the first 2.5km. The nice thing though is the last 4.5km is basically an easy downhill. (which means when running the reverse as in loop you climb on and off for 4.5km). Climb went well, ran through back to the parking lot in exactly the same time 56:59. That was a little freaky, opposite direction but the same time.
Loop3 - Clockwise. On a 4 loop course like Pittsfield will be, Loop 3 is the hardest. Not so much physically as mentally. It is the "no mans land" loop where you start to get tired, loose focus and slowdown. Again I went back to the stride focus, short and quick, making sure to keep the leg turn over going. On one of the steep descents I passed two girls hiking, slowly inching down the slope, just after I passed one yelled and asked if I was the guy running 4 loops (I had told a man I met in the parking lot and he seemed to have spread the word). Hit the parking lot in 59:00. A little slower, but 3 loops under 1 hour each, I was happy.
Loop4 - Counter Clockwise. Okay heading out for the 4th was tough, but I kept telling myself that this was the last and that I wouldn't have to do it again...well till next time. I passed the two girls again on a steep pitch and as I huffed and puffed past them gasping that this was my last loop, I got cheers and encouragement to complete it. Damn I need that. Up to the top and one last gel and I was bound for home. As I was looking at my Garmin I kept wondering what my final time would be. With .5km to go I had 2:30 to break the 1 hour mark - ef'it I put my head down and went for it - with 32km of hill snowshoes I managed to kick up a 5:00/km pace and finished in 60:05.
Done - 32.8km in 3:53 - about 4,000ft of climbing. Good but tough workout. Quite encouraging to get that done, but as with any workout you can't put it in the books until you have recovered off it. Quads are quite tender at the moment, but structurally I feel good, and I am starting to get my energy back.
Taper will start soon, but till then it is heads down, this will be another tough week but I'm ready for it.