This weekend is the beginning of our three biggest training weeks of the race prep. Saturday we have 18 miles, Sunday we have 11. For the 18, I’ve mapped out a 9-mile loop on Squak Mountain, which we’ll do twice with the car serving as an Aid Station. The weather is supposed to be cooperative tomorrow, but it’s rained for several days so the trails will be sloppy. Squak is pretty steep. It’s going to be a tough day.
The loop starts with a 1500′ climb over about 2.3 miles. Then about 4.5 miles of rolling ups and downs while losing about 500′ total, and then a 2-mile descent. Over all, the loop is listed as 8.8 miles with 2,600′ of gain. Experience with Garmin’s plotting suggests to me that the actuals will be about 9.2 and 2,900′. But we’ll see.
That means the total will be more than a vertical mile, and about 18 miles of distance. This is the most ambitious day of my life, from a distance-and-gain perspective, more than rivaling the Cougar Mountain 19.5 miler. I’m a little nervous, especially as I twisted my ankle – yes, AGAIN – on Tuesday’s trail run through discovery park. So Saturday will be tough, cold, muddy, and long.
And we’ll have to be prepared for the worst. Squak Mountain isn’t remote. There’s generally a lot of foot traffic and pretty good cellphone coverage. But the weather is supposed to turn nasty Saturday evening, with the snow level dropping to 1500′. If I fall on my bad ankle late in the day and can’t go on, I need to be prepared to sit in ice-cold rain and snow for several hours before help arrives. That means carrying extra clothes, water, food, etc..
And this is just the easiest of three in a row. Next week we have 20 miles on Saturday and 9 on Sunday, then the week after it’s 22 and 12. This is the big push. Really only one more hard week after this one before the race, with the first weekend of February having 20 and 10. After that, it’s a slow taper to race day. I’m excited. But boy is there a lot of work to do.