The sorta flash GRIT recap no one asked for, except for myself because I am still shocked I managed 34,000+ feet of elevation in over the month. Well, maybe not totally shocked because I have been quietly working on trails, and we did get perfect mild winter weather in Maryland most of the month. I’ve had a hunch I was always more workhorse than Thoroughbred, and being free of debilitating chronic pain for almost three years now has made it possible to explore that part of me. My dumb enjoyment of going up and down Bob’s Hill solidified my theory.
Early in January, I threw up a little in my mouth when I did the math and realized that if I kept my mileage around 150, I’d have to average 200 feet of elevation a mile. I spent most of my time on Bob’s Hill and Gun Road—I am a creature of habit. Alright, here’s a recap of mostly exclamatory thoughts.
Week 1: 6,647 feet of elevation
My first trip to Bob’s Hill—magical! Patapsco Party! Truly just riding a high, trying to not talk too much about my plans, but bringing it up out of nervous excitement.
Week 2: 9,619 feet of elevation
Went insane on Bob’s Hill (5 x repeats!) & had a really nice little trip to Frederick. I met a female ultrarunner on the trail that regularly does TEN repeats of the hill. Note: My only fall of the month was sliding onto my butt while at Weverton Cliffs. The ancient rocks have seen so many feet, they are smoothed by our journeys.
Week 3: 8,069 feet of elevation
I went hard on the Monday work-day off, and over the weekend again, despite a challenging work week: driving all over the state with a team filming and conducting interviews. I still managed to stop at a Wawa while in to Havre de Grace—very important because most of the month while running up and down Bob’s Hill was in Sheetz territory.
Week 4: 6,302 feet of elevation
Here’s where I really scaled back my weekday elevation. I was feeling *good* but wanted to be conscious of a one-way ticket to injury town. Also, the mental exhaustion from the week before had set in. At this point, I was coasting to the goal but not trying to add any extra flourish.
Week 5: 2,769 feet of elevation
The final week/end of elevation! I’m taking the elevation numbers from Strava so I’m assuming the breakdown is correct. How did we close GRIT? A trip to the finest Sheetz in all of Western Maryland! Partway through the month, I promised my coach I would go easy in February to absorb all the work from January. As I write this, I dream of rocks. This is not new. My dad would take my brother and I to rock shows as kids—fairs in New Jersey where we would look at rocks.
Bonus: Froggy Hollow 5 Hour
I promised I’d go easy after this race…here was a distance challenge on top of ugly weather. Frigid temperatures, unknown territory physically and mentally. I’d never run longer than 15 miles before this day—final count was 22.2 miles. I cried a little watching my Garmin tick over 20 miles. It didn’t help that I decided to skip a handheld water bottle—why carry ice??—and was really feeling the dehydration by the final loop despite extended breaks every time I came through the aid station area.
Bonus bonus because I can’t draft fast enough: BRRC Super Bowl Trail Race
I love this race so much! It was hilly, but every incline was rewarded with a downhill. I took a wrong turn which slowed me down by a tenth of a mile, but overall I was pleased with a much stronger effort than last year. Next year, I hope third time is the charm in terms of following the course correctly.
Books I’m thinking about / recently read:
- Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
- Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.