Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bagging bigger peaks on foot

I opted to run up Mt Kearsarge today instead of doing the Mine Falls 5k Monday night. My next planned event is an uphill run. I have just a couple more opportunities between now and then to get in some hill training on foot. I leave for Italy on Thursday and plan to do little if any running over a 10 day period.

I took a chance that the gate would be open. Cathy came out with me. The gate was open, we pre-paid (honor system, no ranger there), then drove 1 mile back down from the park so I could maximize near monotonic vertical gain. Cathy drove up and planned to come down part way then run back up.

It was a cold, drizzly day. Temp was below 50F up top and clouds shrouded the summit. Perfect for a run. I was still damaged goods from Friday's epic day in the White Mountains, so I plan to run no harder than threshold pace. The gradual increase in grade 1mi from the toll gate would be a perfect way to ease into the run, as just after crossing the gate, the grade averages 12% for a mile with many bits at 15-20%.

The grade on Kearsarge varies a surprising amount. I don't notice this as much biking up it. I learned it is harder to hold a steady effort on foot than it is on a bike. I estimated this 4.5mi, nearly 1800ft climb would take me 40 minutes at sub-threshold pace. Half-way distance-wise, my time suggested I'd be way slower than that.  I failed to account that well more than half the vertical is gained in the first half.

I picked the pace up just a tad as I neared the summit, just tipping 160bpm on the Garmin.  I hit the dirt parking lot in 40:03, almost exactly my estimated time.  My average HR was a fairly pedestrian 146bpm. In contrast, my avg HR for a flat 5k last Monday was 165bpm. I haven't used an HRM in so long, I feel like I have to learn things about myself all over again now that I started running. Not a killer workout, but I'm sure it had solid training value. Kearsarge more than doubled any vertical run I've done to date. Cathy and I had planned to hike the rest of the way to the summit, but with zero visibility and rain picking up, we called it a day.

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