Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer running at Frosty Mountain

The week preceding my trip to Frosty Mountain had been a challenge. The weather had deteriorated back to Autumn conditions - cold and misty with unpredictable rain showers - and I could not find the mental strength to get out and get my running shoes on. This was a week of staying in bed as the alarm sounded, snuggling deep under my covers, and ignoring the small voice that insisted I drag myself out and get on with it. Yes, it was a challenge, and I am sure many runners have faced this mental funk, especially as they approach a huge race that has required months of planned preparation and dedication.

My solution to this motivational block was to find absolutely anyone in the running community with an epic plan for the weekend. I wanted to draw on their energy and positivity to launch myself back on track! Who I found were two amazing runners: Sam, a 100miler veteran with such exuberance and energy that one can't help but feel happy to be running, and Mike, another strong runner that had just finished at the Western States 100. Both men had so much experience behind them that I was sure to be inspired for my last 4 weeks of training.

The plan for our run: The Frosty Mountains loop, a 27km trail winding up from the Lightning Lake parking lot in Manning Provincial Park (British Columbia). This would give us almost 2000m elevation gain, give me some good climbing training, and provide us with views that made us feel like adventurers, not runners. More information about Frosty Mountains here.

Before our run, at Lightning Lake parking lot:

The first 5km wound through sub-alpine forest and presented us with a few technical challenges:

Climbing out of the sub-alpine, passing through an old burnt-out forest:

Myself, starting the final climb to the top of Frosty Mountain:

Almost there, the sign behind me warning "Use extreme caution past this point." Does that include running the rest of the narrow trail to the summit?

The view from the summit, at 2404m:

The descent through snowfields that had still not melted - could this be the beginning of a new glacier?
The run finished with a series of switchbacks opening out back at Lightning Lake. In the end the 27km took us 4:30hr due to the immense amount of snow that often had us searching for the trail or making the steep climbs that much harder. Nevertheless, maybe it was the fresh mountain air, or just a fresh environment to run in with new friends, but somehow I left Frosty Mountain feeling my running groove again!

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to run Frosty mountain, looks amazing!!!!