Greetings, from The Peak (Massanutten mountain, elevation 2922 feet)!
It’s the start of my 2016 racing season and I’m two months into training for hiking Half Dome!
We started training in the late winter, after signing up. Both of us live in hilly neighborhoods, so we’ll run there and that’ll help, right? Plus, we had to run with Little Man in a jogging stroller and he’s weighing in at over twenty pounds these days. The combination of running hills with Little Man in the stroller outta get us some kind of advantage, or at least get us in decent shape for the race.
Thursday before the race, we went up to the mountain for a preview of part of the course.
We’re crazy! This’ll be fun, but we’re crazy!
Saturday morning, we gather at the starting line, at the base of the first incline. We skied it this year with Big Dude.
It’s a green slope, right? No problem! We’ve got this!
It’s still a steady uphill climb with long grass and TONS of ruts to navigate (i.e. jump over).
At the top there’s a moment of reprieve! A brief downhill! Then up a blue slope…and so began the mass walking. Hustling, but walking. Very few people were still running. Then the one real downhill portion (back to running!) before a short uphill climb (still running!) to the first challenge station.
The first mile! Done!
CHALLENGE ONE: Fold an Origami crane.
Yeah, right. That darn crane. We folded something crane-ish.
And we’re off for mile two! See that flag in the top left corner? It marks a ninety-degree turn, which leads to the gravel access road to the mountain peak, and the real climb.
Somehow the photos don’t do justice to the real angle of that climb.
Two miles of uphill (and occasional brief plateau later): CHALLENGE TWO!
To VA Momentum, from all of us Monday-morning-quarterbackers who saw the problem from last year and thought: “Surely I can be prepared for math after two miles of uphill!” I say: HA-HA! Fooled us. Here’s the problem we got this year:
It’s not actually a math problem.
Well, we did get it, with five or our ten challenge minutes to spare! Great thing about that challenge station is that we were READY to sprint home.
Pound the Peak finishers, 2016!
Stage one of Half Dome training preparation: Complete.
Next up: The Crusher 5K. I’m relieved to say the thunderstorms have been eliminated from the forecast. Now it’s plain old fifty-degree rain.
In the meantime, #GoRunAMountain. And happy trails! 🙂
Photo & image credits:
(1) Sarah Malay
(2,9) VA Momentum
(3) Massanutten Resort
(4,5,6,7,8) Connor Woisard
Feature image: Sara Tranum