Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mt. Washington Race - Recap

Wayyy back in the fall and through the spring the conversation went something like this:

Ro: "Interested in signing up for Mt. Washington, it's only one hill."  
Me:  "Sure" 
Ro:  "It's a lottery, this will be the third year, I haven't gotten in the last two, this WILL be the year."
Me: "Awesome"  *thinks* hmmm... what are the odds we will get in? I might want to find something out about this race and eventually I did (on June 21st).

I've been through New Hampshire on the way to Maine a couple times and I visited once, way back in 1995? Which ever year Gretchen and Jefferey got married and I spent a week driving around New England in my convertible (which was one of the best vacations I've ever had).  Um, yeah, not really familiar with this Mt. Washington, at all.

March 18th arrived and we got the eMail team "Fit 4 Anything" got in!  There would be 8 runners and we had 3 drivers.  Drivers were very important, this is how you get down from the top of the mountain. Well you could run...

My focus was on training for the 50K so I really didn't do much hill training, I did keep up my endurance training for the 6 weeks post IAT, to a degree, I figured I could gut it out at  15 - 18 minute miles for 7.6 miles.  Someone said your average 1/2 marathon time should be the time to shoot for.  Ok so 2:15 was my A goal.  I didn't avoid hills but I didn't really go out of my way to find any. 2:30 was my realistic goal, my B goal.  Not getting swept was my C goal.

Then I got this cold/plague/allergy thing and it settled in my lungs, brought out the asthma, oh yippiee.  Dug up the old albutero and dosed myself as needed to open up my breathing and control that horrible asthmatic cough, super sexy, not quite gob o'spit on the face sexy, but I don't think I can pull that look as well as some people ...  sounded like I'd been smoking a couple packs a day since birth. 

Friday I drove up to New Hampshire, once I finally got into NH and on 16 North it was an awesome drive, so beautiful.  Stopped at a scenic area in Ossipee:

And then a few miles later:

The team, now 6 and 1 driver met up to go pick up bibs.  We lost 1 to a foot injury, another to Lyme Disease and 2 drivers.  So... huh...  can we fit 7 people in a Subaru?  Could we stack them like cord wood in Steve's truck?

Back:  Tim, Steve, Mark, Don
Front:  Me, Ro
Um we don't really look concerned about this getting down or up the mountain (in the background) business

Saturday: Two vehicles to the mountain one parked and sent Don's wife, Suzan, to the top.  She was more than a little iffy about driving and was absolutely not going to drive Steve's truck to the top, she was even a little iffy on driving HER car to the top, she did and we are forever grateful.  So off we went to find an additional ride down.

A ride down was found, the remaining three people surrendered their "auto tag" tag on the bottom of the bib.  

Um, did someone get the gal's cell phone or vehicle make and tag so we could find them?  Ah, no... feh, someone remembered what she looked like and drove, it would be ok.

Everyone got all lined up earlier I took a good couple puffs from the inhaler (actually following the 30 minutes pre activity instructions, surprising, right?)  hoping like hell that would be OK and shoved it and my long sleeved shirt into my hydration pack.  SO glad when someone said "Glad I'm not the only dork with a hydration pack."  Hey, we all do what makes us most comfortable.

Absolutely gorgeous day!!!  Even the summit looked clear!!
Don said he was thinking about sticking with me.  I figured that would last about 20 seconds past the start gun.  The gun went off, Don was gone, huh not even 20 seconds, off  we went, down hill so that was easy, the flat and then the up hill started I ran a little bit up the start of the hill and could hear the gurgling in my lungs.  Slowed to a power walk and a couple lung clearing coughs.  Evaluated my A, B, and C goals and thought, hell I'm keeping them, or maybe I should just stop, what if I do damage?  Then I saw a some beautiful flowers and rocks and I was distracted, what exactly was I going to see and experience on this journey?  What an opportunity, I cannot pass this up.  Remember passing up that one climb on the Great Wall with Dave and his brother your first trip to China?  Yeah, that was stupid.  You watched them and photographed it and kicked yourself later and never missed another climb like that one. 

Mile 1 - 15:46 - Ok not so bad, maybe I can do this.  The trees were beautiful and the flowers and the people perched on rocks cheering us on.

Mile 2 - 17:12 - Yippiee!!  I was slowing, however, keeping a stead pace and passing people, so this is OK.  Or maybe my cough was scaring them off?  Now I'm seeing some streams through the rocks and hearing the lovely sound of water running and splashing over rocks, so soothing.

Mile 3 - 19:19 - Ok now we can see through the trees, oh wow.  Amazing, the picture doesn't do it justice.

Mile 4 - 19:09 - Beautiful, starting to break the tree line, the wind is picking up a bit, and it does feel pretty good, at the moment. 

Mile 5 - 20:30 - steeper than it looks and we are breaking the tree line!  

Mile 6: 20:31 Think you can get a jist of the steepness, I stopped along here to put on my long sleeves, my hands were really getting cold (remember gloves next year).

Mile 7 - 21:30 See the white in the distance, that is snow in a bowl on the mountain!  

 Mile 7.6 - 19:16 and the fog rolled in and the temp dropped even more.

Almost done - I'm such a ham!!  (plus I had LOTS of time to meet my B goal)

Finish line was up an even steeper hill!!!  Are you kidding me??  I did manage to RUN across the finish line too...  Waiting at the end was a medal and a blanket.  A warm soft fuzzy wonderful blanket.  I wrapped up my chilly self (ok frozen) and set out to find the rest of the crew and snuggle under the blankets in Suzan's warm car with my team mates!!

Official results 2:26:12 - B goal met!  For the full results click here.  Seriously click the link and check the times of the top placers, the winner Joe Gray 59:09, under an hour.  Seriously amazing!!  Truly amazing mountain runners!!

Check out this interview with Joe and last years winner Eric Blake, On the Level!

Some sweet photos by Scott Mason!   And Joe Viger, even one with Scott!!

I'm pleased!

Our team did very well, most meeting their A or B goals! Tim, unfortunately got a bad something or another with dinner and wasn't quite up to his expectations.  He finished with a smile (ok maybe a grimace), on not a lot of sleep.  Impressive any which way you slice it!!   Can't wait to run with this gang again!!

Tim, Don, me, Mark, Ro, Steve

Ro!!  Team Captain!


Ro, Steve, me
Afterwards, because we hadn't had enough fun Steve took us on a hike of Glen Ellis Falls.  So worth the mile up and downhill!

I waded in the freezing cold water.  It felt SO good!!
Post race we hung out on the porch of the Eagle Mountain House sweet view!!

Beth, so glad she wasn't taken seriously when she volunteered to be the second driver.  Absolutely looking forward to running the mountain with this crew and more next year.  Till then, see ya running around Groton!

PS.  We never did find the gal and we all got down the mountain and no one had to walk it.


  1. Great recap and pictures, that looks like it was a fun trip! And you were (of course) #1 for total elevation gain for the WTAC crew, and all in one shot, awesome!!!

  2. Wow, that looks just amazing. You actually made me think I should do it with you next year. Great job my friend!

  3. I love that your post treats this like any other race. You ascended MT. WASHINGTON! Amazing!

  4. Beth this was an awesome article and I'm so glad to hear you're game for next year and not thinking, what the heck did Ro get you the end of our day it was definitely a "priceless" and maybe even a "speechless" adventure. Not sure why I enjoy this run and/or hiking Mt. Washington as much as I do it must be the views not to mention what a great workout! I am so looking forward to running with you more; however, if roles were reversed and you asked me to run a 50k with you, "sure" would not be my response at all......but I would definitely be flattered.... You are by far an inspiration, fit, determined, and like I always tell you---you are always smiling!

    Nice article, nice job with the run! It was a fun weekend for sure.....Lottery for 2015 opens in Feb. Stay tuned! xo

  5. Beth, amazing adventure run and write-up. I don't think I'd be up for the challenge on this one. Well done.