Sunday is almost here.
Oh, how I giggle thinking about it.
I was so naive last year in thinking that this race was an easy one.
Let’s face it, none of them are easy, and to be honest, I think the race organizers get immense joy out of the courses that they create. They love to watch us along the course.
And after last week, I was ready to call this whole thing quits until my coach talked me off of a ledge. I am competing against folks who train up north all the time. I have no “home field” advantage. Sea level is not conducive to mountain running. So, I have to work extra hard.
So here is a course overview.
A 7.5-mile road race slightly uphill from Wilton to Monadnock, running along some paved and some fire roads. And, then at some point, you turn onto Highway 101 and you know this is starting to get serious. Then the gates appear, like the gates of heaven, and you must climb up and up all the way to the top of Pak Monadnock from the base – on already spent and exhausted legs.
Some grades are greater than Mt. Washington at 23% percent. It becomes faster and more efficient to hike than run.
So, it is all about gearing this time around. Like a car.
Checking in as the elevation slowly climbs – How is my body feeling? Do I still have more “gas” left in the tank? Shift up if yes, shift down if no. Very much all about self-awareness and self-monitoring.
In the past few weeks, I have lost about 5 pounds. Have ten more to go. Losing weight compromises strength but gives you lightness. You need both so it is a delicate balance.
Tomorrow, things get serious. Tomorrow is Pak Monadnock. A 2,000 ft. elevation gain up to almost 2,500 feet. Still a primer for Wildcat and the 4,000 footers.
This year I am not naive. I am in awe.
I have always been drawn to mountains and find the peace that my heart longs for there. But I also see their majesty as part of God’s creation. Lives are lost, hearts are won.
Getting to the top and looking out, you understand that you can then overcome anything. Be anyone. Because you did it.
Folks this is what it is all about.
Conquering the mountain, hating it, and yet being in love with it at the same time. It is life.
Thank goodness there is a diner waiting for me at the end. We all know how much I love “Counter Culture.” Not the best food or service, but The Red Arrow in Milford, NH will have to do. Classic diner look and feel. And, tons of local “Culture.” A pure treat!
From last year: