I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been working hard on some awesome projects in my internet marketing business and training like a fiend to get my swimming and biking up to par for my next race. I’m competing in the ChelanMan Half Ironman in the middle of July. If you’ve never been to Chelan, WA in the summer, you must go!
After running The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler at Bear Mountain NY, my hip flexor recovered pretty fast, but I wasn’t doing a lot of hard running. I changed that this week by heading up north to the Mountain Loop Highway and running up to Lake Twenty Two. I had a couple of great friends in town who are in amazing shape and they were looking for a trail run that was beautiful and abusive :-). I wanted to go for a run that would take us about 8-15 miles, but when we got to the ranger station we found that the list of available trails wasn’t long. There were bridges down and snow was listed on all of the trails. This seemed weird because it was 70 and sunny at the ranger station. The most accessible trail was Lake Twenty Two which was 2.7 miles (5.4 round trip). This wasn’t as long as I wanted, but while we were at the ranger station another hiker gave it a glowing review and said that it was a tough hike. Little did he know that we were going to be running it.
When we got to the trail the trees were large and dense and everything was covered in cushy moss. It felt very much like a rain forest. As we started up the trail there were a number of waterfalls and these really cool looking wood bridges. I was pleasantly surprised that my body was feeling good! We trudged upward and passed many people that looked at us like we were crazy. For some reason that just fuels my fire to keep on pushing and improving. Hopefully I was able to inspire some of them to push beyond their current physical conditioning. The higher we got, the more amazing the views became. At about 2 miles up the snow started to show up in a big way. It went from zero snow to 2-3 feet of snow on the ground in about 20 feel of elevation. I was thinking that I could continue running on the snow, but after a few steps that caused my feet to sink feet below the surface, it was clear that the running wasn’t a good idea. Not to mention that missing a step could have sent us sliding down a slippery 200-300 foot slope. So we walked the last stretch of the trail where we found a snow covered lake tucked into the middle of towering mountain peaks. Words can’t give justice to this experience! Everything was snow covered but the sun was out and kept us warm with nothing but shorts and t-shirts on. We just hung out for about 30 minutes, ate peanut butter sandwiches, and enjoyed being in paradise!
We started heading back down the snow covered trail, trying not to slip too much, and continuing to be in awe of our surroundings. Once we made it back to the non-snowy trail it was time to play! My favorite part of any run or race is the high speed downhill technical running. It’s like meditation for me. I’m in the zone! The more technical it is, the better! So we turned it up and ran down the rocky tree-lined trail, bounding off of stumps, and tip toeing on rocks over small streams. As we ran lower and lower the temp warmed back up to the high 60’s and low 70’s, and we burned through the last 2 miles like it was nothing. At the bottom of the trail we burst back into the parking lot, concluding our amazing day of running in one of the most beautiful places in the world.