Monday, March 14, 2011

Massanutten Mountain

 How many times have you heard me say I hate Massanutten? For several reasons: the rocky climbs, the rocky flats, the rocky downhills, the downhills too steep and technical to run down, all the roads in the MMT course, etc. I am always complaining about them. I spent all last weekend in the Massanutten mountains; I ran and hiked a cumulative 35 miles. And you know what? I enjoyed it! Me!

Elizabeth Furnace 50k

This run started off really well. The rocky climb up Signal Knob wasn't bad since we had to walk it anyway. The trail started thinning out quickly, and the sunrise was incredible. We started early, but getting to see that view made it worth the early wake-up call!

Boots (a WUSer) and I really started running 3 to 4 miles in, and it felt great. My legs felt strong, the trail felt good, and I was concentrating on navigating the rocks with my small feet. Then, we hit a trail bottleneck, but this was fine since we started chatting with a big group. Soon enough, Mike Baily joined us and we all chatted and had a great time taking a fire road at a good pace.

Look! Dirty Shoes!
It was wet outside, and when we hit the big stream crossings that made last year's race memorable, we got soaked past our knees in freezing cold water. After three dips most of us had numb toes. I think these stream crossings should be included at mile 90 of MMT.

I really enjoyed being on the trails with new friends and soaking up the warm weather. I gave Mike dating advice, we all discussed ultrarunning in general, and about some cool runners. We gossiped and the miles flew by. Soon it was 15 miles, and my IT Band was throbbing. Words cannot describe my frustration. WHY GOD WHY?!?!

Orange markings on the Massanutten trail

I told them to run ahead and I walked to the finish. I did some running on flats, and sometimes it felt ok. At 22 miles, I ran into the first aid station, happy to see my boyfriend, more friends, and beer.

It turned into a way fun day. We hung out at the aid station for a few hours having a good old time, and then at the finish I got some chili, finally talked to a few VHTRCers I hadn't met, tried on club shirts, made inappropriate jokes, laughed at Gary's inappropriate jokes, and I got tortured by the Egyptian Magician. He worked my ITB like it's never been worked before, and showed Tyler how to do it. Also, I gained lots of advice from the other runners, including advice to try the strap. I hope it works.

That night, Tyler and I went to Clementine in Harrisonburg, VA and Dave Fraizer was there with his lovely fiance. Our coversation went like this:

"Did you run today?"
"Did you win?"
"Did you get a course record?"

He got more talkative as the evening (and weekend, we ran into them at Breakfast) went by. Overall, it was a beautiful day spent with awesome friends and despite the injury bug, I couldn't frown, or cry, or be angry. I could only smile. (OMG, so corny)

Duncan Knob Hike

After breakfast at the Little Grill (best pancakes in Harrisonburg and maybe all of Virginia) Tyler and I headed back to Massanutten for a 12 mile hike.

See! Rocks, like I told you about.
It was really warm out and the hike was lovely. We got to help a lost family find their way and also tried to catch some idiot motorcyclists on the hiking trail with our blackberrys. It was exciting. The hike was wonderful except the trail was a stream for more than 1/2 the hike due to all the rain recently. By the end of the weekend, I was sick of having wet feet. They also smelled pretty bad, I'm surprised I still have a boyfriend.


  1. BOO, IT Band.
    HOORAY! You got tortured by the Egyptian Magician!
    Hope the new tricks work and you're back soon.
    Loved the report and nice work focusing on the fact that we're just so lucky to get to run on trails in beautiful places.
    Good advice: NEVER leave wet shoes in a tied-shut plastic bag for more than 8 hours.

  2. the egyptian magician hurrah!

    this looks like a gorgeous weekend!

  3. I love that you still got out to enjoy the gorgeous weather, even though you couldn't exactly run through it. Injury always reminds me that I'm more than a runner—I'm a multi-faceted person who happens to run, and I'm a multi-sport athlete who recognizes there's more than one way to immerse herself in the outdoors.

  4. BTW, I am not a fan of the Massanutten rocks, they are just a little too ridiculous for me. That said, after 5 hours of backpacking in the sand along the beach in Corcovado National Park, I admit that many, many times I YEARNED for those solid, rocky trails!