Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time to Saddle Up!

Just a few days away from my unsupported 142 mile Horse-Shoe Trail run, and I'm getting excited!  I went for a test run w/ my full pack last night, and I must admit it felt really HEAVY. Since I'll need to carry all of my food from the start, it'll slowly get lighter as I eat along the way, but still, it's a big difference from running w/ just a Camelback. I'm sure my shoulders will be begging for mercy the whole time, and I'm already looking forward to that weight being lifted off them (quite literally) every time I stop for a break. 

For those of you interested, I'll be wearing the Gregory Miwok pack w/ a 70 oz. Camelback bladder. This is a nice test-run for this gear as I try to find exactly what I like best before my VT Long Trail run next summer. I'll be attempting that run w/ a different strategy than the previous record-setters on that trail, and with enough kinks ironed out beforehand, I think it will prove to be very successful. More details to follow on that plan in the coming months...but in the meantime, I'll toss in this random photo from about 10 years ago during a winter hiking trip in Maine. I was thinking about the 40lbs I used to haul around in my pack back then to try and make the weight on this trip (which will start at about 20lbs) not seem so bad! 

 Long-time trail partners Dan (Trooper) and Cousin Steve (Cap'm) joined by Charlie (he manned the old pot-belly stove in this abandoned ranger station while Steve and I ran up Mt. Abraham in ME).

Back to the Horse-Shoe Trail: My first 12 hours or so will be focused solely on getting to The Pretzel Hut before they close for the night. This place looks like a fantastic old-school diner, and I'm hoping to get there (about 60 miles into the run) right around dinner time. Nothing like a greasy burger and fries to keep me warm through the night! There are a few other cool places within a mile of the trail along the way, so depending on what time of day I pass through those areas, I'll be sure to take a detour or two to sample some of the local cuisine!

On the topic of weather, it should be picture perfect during the day (low 50s), and definitely cold at night (high 30s). I'll let the actual conditions dictate my plan for any nap time overnight, but if it's in the 30s I'll most likely march on through the night to keep generating body heat and then see how I feel when the sun comes back up. If I move well through the night, I should have plenty of time to nap in the sun if I'm feeling tired in the morning.

One other big highlight of my trip will be at mile 127. My friend Malia from LA just happens to 1) Randomly be from that area, and even more amazingly, 2) Will be in town visiting family there this weekend! She has offered to meet up with me at that point and run at least 7 miles w/ me to where her brother will be waiting w/ the car at the next road crossing. I'll try to convince her to stay on for the final 7 miles after that too, but either way, I'll be so happy for the company after running solo for so long!

I'll be starting on the trail at about 6am Saturday morning, and I'll do my best to post a few audio updates along the way when I pass by any cell towers. If those don't end up working out, I'll be sure to post something Sunday night when I get back! Giddy up!


Casseday said...

Good luck Dan. Have fun and enjoy the adventure!
-- Adam

Jamie Donaldson said...

Have a blast Dan! Off for another amazing adventure!

Runner Tammy said...


Have a great time this weekend. Enjoy your experience and learn from it.

By the way you will have to tell me if running with 20 lbs on your back works out. This time at JJ100 my fanny pack was 5 lbs (without the water bottle!). I really need to either carry less or get stronger:-)

Happy running,