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February 2020
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100 and 44

At the end of April I decided to pick a goal race (Bay State Half Marathon) and set a training plan (25 weeks). The first 7 weeks are all base building, trying to get my legs used to doing the longer mileages required in later sections of the plan. I managed to hit all of my weekly mileage goals despite skipping some workouts and needing to shift other workouts around to make up for them. The end result is that I logged over 100 miles run for the first month since October of 2010.

My goal for June is to improve my consistency and continue to hit my mileage targets.

Since learning about it several years ago, I’ve been working on hiking the 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are 4000 feet or higher. On Sunday, Susan and I decided to go hiking and knock another peak off of the list. We chose Wildcat (D and E peaks) to be my 44th of the 48 4000 footers.

There are two main routes to access Wildcat D. One is a long, though pleasant, hike in along 19 mile brook before ascending to Wildcat Ridge and hiking across the A, B, and C peaks to reach the D peak. Since we had already hiked that end of the ridge we opted for the more direct route. Of course, more direct means more vertical in a shorter amount of time. After setting out from the car and crossing the Ellis River (pictures of Su crossing the river on the way down later) we immediately started up the New England version of a stairmaster.

Believe it or not, this picture was taken in one of the easier, more level, sections of the trail.

This part is easy!

Susan ascending Wildcat Ridge trail

The trail continued ascending steeply with occasional short steep descents mostly in woods with annoying flies for the next two miles. Just when it seemed like the short hike (ha, short) would never end we hit the top of the ridge, descended briefly to the ski gondola station at the top of Wildcat Mountain, and were rewarded with a great view of Mt. Washington across Pinkham Notch.

Mt. Washington from Wildcat Ridge Trail

Mt. Washington from Wildcat Ridge Trail

Where's the snow?

Wait, we could have taken a gondola to the top?

Not a bad reward for a lot of work

Not a bad reward for a lot of work

At the top we snapped a few photos, devoured our sandwich, and liberally reapplied bug repellent. Apparently I got some on the lens of my camera as a lot of my later photos are blurred. Oh well, better than being eaten alive.

The descent went much more quickly than the ascent and despite being hard on the legs didn’t leave us nearly as winded. One final crossing of the Ellis River and we were back at the car and off for a well deserved burger on our ride home.

Cold water felt great on our sore legs

Ellis River crossing

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