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Advanced Motor Planning

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Back in Florida for a few days after training in the northeast mountains for the last 3 weeks. We began at Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak. Little did I know that I was in store for 9 hours of rock climbing and only 3 hours of hiking as we chose to cross Knife’s Edge (pictured above) – the most difficult route to the summit. We ascended the rocky Dudley trail to Pamola Peak. Then managed to get through the extremely hazardous maneuvers up and down Chimney Peak to Knife’s Edge (the name does say it all).

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I will never choose to go this route again, but my nephew (pictured in front of me), Braedon, from Arizona loved the rock climbing aspects of the hike. So it was well worth it to experience the journey with him and my older brother, Richard. Braedon who is scared of structural heights (as he will freak out on a 30 foot rock wall with a safety rope around him), but strangely not natural heights. He had to lend me a “helping hand” a couple of times to hoist me up in order to position my foot in the next vertical spot.

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I left the long day at Katahdin battered and bruised, but void of twists or sprains allowing me to meet Kim Sheffield in the Vermont mountains for our 20 mile training run. Kim assembled a nice small group of runners to ascend and descend Mount Tom and surrounding areas around Woodstock, Vt.

Then it was onto the White Mountains of New Hampshire to tackle the full Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains that Hurricane Arthur kept us from doing in July. We started at daybreak and hiked 9,000 feet of elevation as we went up and down 7 peaks: Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce. It was 21.5 miles in 14.5 hours as we finished with our head lamps guiding us through the darkness. I now can understand how this is more a summer solstice hike as we were chasing the sunlight.  It was a long, but beautiful day. My older brother, Richard, and his friend Steve (all over 50 years old) had a lot of laughs along the way and took in some amazing sights.

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During the hikes Richard and I were discussing the necessity of advanced motor planning for these challenging terrains. Motor planning is defined as “the ability of the brain to conceive, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions.” That is exactly what was required step after step (often on wet rocks). Individuals can be in the best endurance shape, but if they lack advanced motor planning, problems will occur with such arduous routes. That is why jumping rock to rock is as much a mental task as it is a physical one.

After these three weeks of hiking and running in the mountains, I feel ready for the Grand Canyon on September 15th. I will be traveling in the weeks leading up to the run at the Canyon, but will post a blog on my return from Arizona. Hope you all have a great end to your summer…

 

Training In The White Mountains

After running 13.1 miles on Siesta Key Beach at the end of June in 90 degree weather and high humidity. It was time to go north to the White Mountains to work my legs in a different way as I prepare for the long run across the Grand Canyon. My older brother, Dick, is an avid hiker and a member of the New England 4000-Footer Club which includes all 48 peaks in the White Mountains. He has asked me for years to do some long hikes with him, but with my past summers filled with one-mile speed races I could not partake in these journeys. However, this year is a different story. I am hiking The White Mountains in New Hampshire and Mount Katahdin in Maine and then running the 20 mile dress rehearsal through the mountains of Vermont. I thought this would be a great way to prepare for the rigors of The Grand Canyon. Steep ascensions and descents are a great way to strengthen parts of your legs that are often missed. Balancing on a rock or a dirt edge tests your ligaments and muscles around the joints of your lower extremities as you strengthen through vertical stabilization. Dick and I were planning to hike the Presidential Traverse which is over 20 miles, but Hurricane Arthur had other plans for us.

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When Dick awoke on Saturday morning, he came into my room to tell me about the change of plans. The back winds of Hurricane Arthur were still looming in the northeast United States. The winds on the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern US just over 6200 feet, were gusting over 100 mph. Now 100 mph pales in comparison to the world record in 1934 that Mount Washington once held for wind speed measured at 231 mph, but we could not chance the exposure that the high traverse entails hiking over Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Washington. Instead, we stuck to lower peaks and under tree levels. We hiked up to Mount Eisenhower, Mount Jackson, Mount Pierce, and the Webster Cliff trail. The views were tremendous but so was Hurricane Arthur (with 60 mph gusts on Eisenhower) as can be see in the video and photo on Webster Cliff later in the day. It was a great day of training with Dick as we covered 13 miles of wet, windy, and slippery trails.

Our plans were supposed to take us to Israel later this month, but with all that is happening there it is postponed to a future date. We look forward to the next training hikes and runs in August, but this time without any hurricanes. At www.OneMileRunner.com, we just migrated our blog site to Word Press. Please let us know what you think of the new format.

Preparations Begin for the Grand Canyon

This event in mid-September will be quite different than my mile jaunts. Not only is the distance much greater, but also the preparations are not the same. My usual three speed workouts a week will be reduced to one. I have never worn an “energy belt” to hold water and bars, but it will be a necessity on this long run. I picked up a New Balance energy belt along with the outdoor shoe I will be wearing as I chose the new NB Multi-Sport 99. The energy belt will be able to hold two 10oz. water bottles. It has a small pouch in the back for two energy bars and another small item. The New Balance Multi-Sport 99 is the perfect shoe for the Canyon trails with a 4mm drop, Vibram sole, and NL-1 last. I took my first run with the NB 99 today and loved it. I have tried the New Balance Leadville 1210, but it was a little too bulky for my narrow feet.

At www.OneMileRunner.com, I am also accustomed to have cars surrounding me as I run. One or two cars for protection and safety if the road is not closed and another for the video crew. In the Grand Canyon, we will be on our own and far away from civilization. We decided if anyone gets injured on the initial steep decline, then they will return to the South rim before our sag wagon departs on their 5 hour drive to meet us on the North rim. If everyone makes it without any injuries to Phantom Ranch (approximately 7 miles in to the South Kabib trail) then we will all stick together until we finish. We have studied the trail map and have marked the couple of water spots. We have also gone over the items we need to have on us for the trip.

Our 20 mile practice run will be in the mountains of Vermont on August 10th – approximately one month before the Grand Canyon run. I am also hiking the entire Presidential traverse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (about 20 miles in one day) on July 4th weekend to also test out some of my new equipment. Should be an interesting summer of preparation before we return to Florida at the end of September. Then we change gears and turn the speed on for the Greek Island Adventure in June of 2015…hope everyone is beginning to enjoy the warmer temperatures for your runs.

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