Saturday, November 08, 2014

Rosaryville Veteran's Day 50K

I signed up for this event in 2012, but missed it due to a sprained ankle. This year I got sick for a few weeks in Oct so I made this my last race of the season. I was highly confident going in, because I ran the Patapsco Valley 50K two weeks ago and that course was harder.

Once again we lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and cool and couldn't have been any better!

I ran with my friend Amy, who was coming off an injured ankle suffered several months ago. Given that neither of us was in peak condition ;) we were really just looking forward to a nice gentle trail run in beautiful weather, so our plan was to just take it really easy and enjoy ourselves.

The event starts at a pavilion inside the park, follows a road out-and-back to the perimeter trail, and is then 3 counter-clockwise laps on the perimeter trail. I've run at Rosaryville dozens of times and have always measured the trail to be ~9.2 mi in length, so as we started the event some quick math told me this event would be a little shorter than 50K/31mi. My Garmin wound up with 29.3 mi, so 1.7 short (plus or minus whatever GPS inaccuracies that day) but that's fine. I think events have to work with the terrain they have and sometimes a ridiculous out-and-back or tiny loop just to make the distance works out is silly.

The aid stations were fantastic - there were two, one each time the trail crossed a park road, which were conveniently about halfway around the perimeter from each other - and the whole event went well, if slower than either of us could have done normally. But as a final trail race for 2014, it was ideal.

A race photographer took this awesome picture of me on the course.

I'm not sure I'll do this event next year, because it is scheduled around some other races I have my eye on. One of those is Stone Mill; I'm actually in it this year but there is no way I can finish it (and enjoy myself) so I won't start. Another race that I am interested in is Mountain Masochist. Both are 50 milers so they would be a step up.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Patapsco Valley 50K

I went into this event slightly injured and undertrained due to illness, so I didn't have many expectations. On the other hand I was feeling optimistic because this is effectively my home course - I run the trails here all the time. And I was determined not to DNF. I figured if I could get to the start again (first 20/21 mi were a loop that came back to the start) and was feeling OK, I could definitely hike the remaining 10/11 mi.

The race started early - 6 am - so the initial hour or so required headlamps. It was kinda fun starting out, one dispersed mass of 120 runners and their headlamps, heading up an immediate climb.

At 5 mi in to the event it was light enough out to turn off the headlamp.

Already the crowd had thinned out quite a bit, and for the next bit it was me running in between two small groups of friends. I kept running to catch up and then falling behind because of temperature issues - I had a short sleeve shirt and a thin jacket on, but I found that I was too cold in the shirt (I could have used gloves) and too warm in the jacket. So I kept stopping to take off my vest and jacket over and over.

Right after the Buzzards Rock viewpoint (pic above) was the 2nd aid station at the Hilltop parking area. My friend Carrie was helping out - she also helped at registration - and we chatted for a bit before she reminded me I tend to dawdle at aid stations.

Leaving aid station 2 the course followed Sawmill Branch, turning south along the river to the short rock scramble. I happened to run near a young woman, Aubrey, who told me this was her first 50K. Nice! Kinda tough for a first 50K but I didn't mention that to her.

At the rock scramble I stopped to take a pic and she offered to take one of me:

That's me in my Crazies running shirt, with my jacket wrapped around my waist (still was juggling being too warm/cool but soon enough I was fine in just the shirt), and bib number 7, not 1 - the number folded slightly and at many aid stations I had to correct someone that said "bib number 1, check"!

I made it back to the start area at mi 20/21 with about 30 mins to spare for the 6 hour cutoff. I was feeling tired and wearing down, but my foot felt OK so I continued. Besides, the weather was perfect and I had another 4.5 hours to do the next 10/11 mi, which I was positive I could do. I changed at my car real quick (swapped shorts for the tights, dropped the jacket) and headed out.

The second time doing the big orange trail climb was tough, especially at the top when another runner popped out and asked for directions. I knew he was a mile from finishing and I had another 10 to go. All I wanted to do was finish, no time goal, so I kept on.

Somewhere around mile 25 my slow run turned into a hike/fast walk. In my haste to leave the start area, I forgot to top off my bottles. I was low on water but I knew I could make it to the aid station at mi 27. Right before reaching the aid station, I drained my last bottle but was able to refill it minutes later. I chatted with Laura for a bit before heading out. We both agreed that I could easily do the next 4 mi in just over an hour... which seemed odd and not quite right. While half-walking half-running down the blue trail I realized we both shorted me 1 hour of time - I actually had just over 2 hours to make it. Whew, haha, that would be no problem.

Being familiar with the course had one downside - I knew the trail the race would take to the finish included the orange Ridge trail, one of the tougher ones, especially at mi ~30 of an event. It isn't too bad really, but it is narrow with lots of ups and downs, and popular with mountain bikers. I was tired for this section I don't remember seeing one of my favorite landmarks along it - a large rock in the middle of the trail with an orange blaze mark on it. I nicknamed it "the troll" and I'm sure it is there still, I probably just was a little out of it when I went by.

I was so happy to see the finish line I picked it up slightly and grinned from ear to ear. It was a fun event and I'd like to do it again next year. My Garmin shows 8:50 moving time, 9:09 elapsed, and 32.5 mi.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rick O'Donnell Trail Run

A sizable number of Patapsco Trail Junkies showed up for the Rick O'Donnell trail run in Greenbrier State Park.

Our group was planning on distances from 2 loops to 6 loops (50K) to however many would fit into 8 hours. I was thinking about 4 or 5, depending on how it was going. I really wanted to do 6 but knew my training wasn't exactly up to supporting that ;) at least, not in an enjoyable fashion. I had run a marathon a few weeks ago but caught a minor flu/cold (thanks a lot, open office floorplan) and fell a bit off my schedule.

This event featured a 5.22 mi loop that runners could either do once, or as many times as they could in 8 hours. The first loop was pretty crowded, but that's because 75% of the runners just did one loop. For loops 2+, it was nearly empty!

I started running with Gretchen, a fellow PTJ member, and I mentioned that I thought it was pretty suspect that a trail could be measured to 2/100 ths of a mile accuracy. That's just... beyond belief. I think there is a deeper symbolism - perhaps Rick O'Donnell, who the race is a memorial for, was born on May 22 or something along those lines.

The initial path led along a paved trail, then over grass, then onto a nice flat single track. I thought to myself, this is going to be fantastic, but then we hit some loose, small rocks. And this terrain dominated the rest of the loop.

The trail wound around, and every turn was very well marked. We hit a few rollers and then a major climb which is obvious from my GPS elevation data. Gretchen and I were together until this point, where she climbed the hill in a faster gear than I climbed the hill. ;)

Soon she was out of sight but that was fine; everybody needs to run their race and I was being careful due to my ankle, and getting over the final few days of being sick.

The trail was well forested, so there never really was a good view of the surrounding area. We circled a lake, but could only see it near the start/stop/aid station. The weather was pretty good, just a bit on the warm side but not too bad, and I just concentrated on footing while running along and enjoying the event.

The single aid station was phenomenal. It had everything: 5 flavors of Pringles, small potatoes, watermelon, Swedish fish, gel and protein bars, salt, gatorade and water, tons of snacks (red licorice, M&Ms, pretzels), quartered PB&J sandwiches, pickles, etc. I mentioned the pickles and a volunteered offered to pour me some of the juice - I've read pickle juice is a great fuel for ultras, but I declined since I've never tried it and figured the middle of an event is not the place to start. People were also cooking burgers for finishers - remember this was a timed event so people could stop whenever they wanted and therefore would want food throughout the event. I should have taken a picture of the tables they set up, I had a mental checklist and everything was there and then some when I scanned over it.

On my loop 3 I caught up to a fellow runner and we chatted a bit - she is in an event I'm signed up for as well that is coming up in November. I also caught up to Chris, who was in PTJ as well but I never met him in person until earlier that morning. I had a burst of energy and eventually pulled away.

At the aid station I had to take a shoe off and remove a small rock, which somehow got in there even though I had my Dirty Girl gaiters on.

Loop 4 was tough. (See Garmin info; I took a lap split at the aid station and I was dragging along on loop 4 compared to loops 1-3). My legs were a bit stiff, and I started stumbling on roots and rocks. I caught myself from falling 2 or 3 times before the big mid-loop climb. About this time I decided I would just do 4 loops since I didn't want to trip and/or pull a muscle catching a fall, all of which seemed more likely since I was getting tired and my calf was stiffening up a bit.

Some of the trickiest terrain was near the end, coming off the red trail onto orange (which fed into the paved trail section leading by the lake). It was downhill with roots and rocks, so I was extra careful. I didn't want to do 19 mi and then twist my ankle right at the end! Fortunately I didn't and when I reached the aid station I told the timer I was going to stop.

After resting for ~30 mins or so, drinking some chocolate milk and munching some food, I made my way up to the parking lot. I was hoping to see some others while waiting there but I decided to go before getting too tired (I drove myself in the morning, since I didn't know how many loops I was going to do).

Later, I was happy to NOT have a headache. Often after a long training run or race, I get home and have a dull headache in the evening. I figured it was due to dehydration but even after drinking tons during a run, I would still get them. After reading and searching, I saw somebody ask this question on the Trail and Ultra Running Facebook group - and the general consensus was: headache due to low electrolytes. Aha, that makes a lot of sense. Up until recently I was using a pack with a reservoir, which I would fill with water. So even with eating/drinking salty stuff at aid stations, I could see getting low on electrolytes. At last week's Dam Half, I tried Nuun tablets in the bottles. Unfortunately I still got a headache but that was likely due to only using 1 tablet per bottle when I should have used 2 (new pack has 20 oz bottles).

For this run, I used 1 scoop of Tailwind in each bottle. The recommended amount is twice that, but I find that much Tailwind concentration gives me a stomach cramp - perhaps this is something to get used to. Anyway, drinking all of both bottles plus having some extra salt at the aid station (Pringles, pretzels, salt on a watermelon slice), and I had no headache. I'll be sure to keep trying various combos of electolyte supplements to nail this issue. For example, next training run I'll try two Nuun tablets per bottle, etc.

Anyway, it went well and I think most of us would be happy to return to the event next year. It was low key and well supported and not too far away. The trail was challenging with one large climb halfway through the loop, an opportunity to work on hiking speed. ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dam Half

My friend Michael talked me into doing this event, largely because the premium was a hoodie. A small group planned to do it, but for various reasons (work conflicts, injuries) it was just Michael and me.

The event was about 60 miles outside Harrisburg, PA, which would have meant a really early wakeup call for a drive up that morning. Or, getting a nearby hotel. Fortunately, our friend Matt's mom lived nearby and let us stay over the night before. Nothing like saving a little money and avoiding a super long day of driving the morning of the event!

We arrived at R. B. Winters park in time to see the marathoners start at 7:00 am. Our race was at 8:00 am so we had plenty of time to pick up our hoodie, bib number, eat a little bit, and gear up.

For me, this was my first event using my new UltraSpire Kinetic pack, which I intend to replace my trusty Nathan with. The Nathan is a great pack, but it is a reservoir/bladder system which has some advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include ease of drinking - the tube is easy to use while running. Meanwhile, the Kinetic holds two bottles, which are harder to get to while on the move. I usually need to slow up to get and replace a bottle.

For that disadvantage, a bottle system has a lot of great advantages. Bottles are easier to top off during an event. Bottles are easier to clean; bottles can also hold different liquids (one plain water, one sports drink - the reservoir can be cleaned but I still don't want to put sports drink into the reservoir). Bottles are easier to leave in drop bags for mid-race replacements. And the big reason I want to switch to bottles - they don't freeze. Last winter, I had the drink tube on my Nathan freeze solid 3-4 times, twice at events, twice on training runs. That's not fun to deal with! What I had to do is redo my outer jacket, putting it over the pack. Eventually, the extra layer helps melts the tube and I can drink again... this takes about 30-45 mins though.

Anyway, Michael and I lined up with about 330 other half marathoners and started off at 8:00 am. It was crowded for the first bit, like most trail events, but this race stayed that way for a solid 5 miles. We ran a small loop past the start, then popped out on a road and went right into a trail - so the usual bottleneck/funnel effect took hold.

The forest was fantastic, and the trail was extra-thin. Trail runners talk about single-track... this was more like half-track. Still, there was good footing and a fair amount of rocks. Michael and I settled into the pace the people around us were running - given the thinness of the trail it was pretty much impossible to pass. To be fair, we were moving along about the pace I'd have run anyway. It just felt a little crowded at times - I like a little more space between me and the runners in front of me and behind me.

The first climb was a line of people stretching out of sight:

We marched up a long time... and as I would find out later, this was the small climb. ;) Now the one drawback was the conga line also walked down the other side - I'm not the fastest descender, but usually I can move a little faster than walking down a hill.

This course was well marked, insanely so. Plus, it was uncomplicated as the basic shape was a rectangle so aside from a few small turns (the F1 racing term "chicane" comes to mind) it was basically run straight for a few miles, take a 90 degree turn and repeat. But the course had ribbons all over the place, even after turns when there was no other trail that forked in to get lost on. Anybody concerned about navigation would be fine here as the only way to get lost was to embark on some serious bushwhacking.

The first aid station was around mile 5, and this was an opportunity to leap frog some people in the race line. We had spread out a little bit by this point, but it is always good to be quick through a station. After grabbing some pretzels, cookies, and a bit to drink, we headed off.

Right after this aid station were two bigger climbs, and a few people were stopping to rest midway. I snapped another pic.

This climb, like the previous one and next one, was straight up and straight down. Literally, there was no switchback or anything, just up and then down. Maybe that's one way to keep mountain bikes and horses off the trails!

The next aid station was mile 8, with 2 climbs since mile 5. At this point the trail widened out into a double track with clear ruts for an occasional truck. It was a gradual uphill through the woods and we walked a bit before picking it up again and running. By this point the field had spread out so no more conga line of runners, which was nice. We ran through more pine forest, by a stream; this section was scenic, peaceful, and relatively easy.

After another road section and aid station (or maybe two, I forget) we walked up a road to the big climb on the event: a hill/trail named "Stairway to Heaven". It was a monster climb, twice as big as the previous ones, straight up with no switchbacks, and at the top there was a small boulder field to cross!

The steepness and length of this climb aren't apparent in the picture. ;)

I needed some careful footing over this section!

Once past the boulders, it was a nice downhill back to the finish. The food spread at the finish included some great barbecue, pizza, and birch beer/root beer/cream soda.

We had a great time - the volunteers were great and the course was scenic and challenging. We're already talking about going back next year for the full, which is sure to be tough.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Gunpowder Keg

Gunpowder Keg is a low key "fat ass" style trail race put on by the Baltimore Road Runners Club (they have a trail race series in addition to lots of road races). The distances for this year's event were 25K and 50K (two loops). Since I needed to get some miles in, I figured why not drive out for this event; it was fun last year with a group, but it would just be me going this time. It cost a $5 donation to the park to enter the race, what a bargain!

It was hot and humid again, kinda weird since the summer wasn't too bad in this area, but we had a heat wave over the last week or two. Normally, the hottest week of the summer is in July or early August, not the first week of September.

Anyway, the race course was similar to last year's event, except it started differently: rather than bottleneck/funnel entering the trail from the parking lot, we ran down a paved path (the same paved path that is the finish), back up an old road, and then into the trail. The great advantage with this is the hill climb naturally spread out the field, avoiding the bottleneck.

I ran with a friend I hadn't seen in two or more years, Kim. In fact, I'm surprised she recognized me. It was fun to chat a bit and hear about other planned events. By the time we hit the first unmanned aid station (2-3 mi in), she dropped back and I pressed ahead.

I saw two women running ahead of me, dressed in matching Charm City Run outfits. Every time I got close to them, I'd slow up and take a picture, so I didn't actually catch up to them until after the 2nd aid station, near the bridge.

This section of the course was scenic, since the trail was right along the water. In fact, almost too close - one bad foot plant and you could also slide right into the river. So I ran carefully, making sure I didn't step into an eroded trail section and kept an eye on rocks.

I chatted with the two women - they asked me if I had done this event before, and I had the previous year. One asked if it was true about the bees, she had a friend that refused to come because of the bees last year.

I told her that was true. Last year, I was running along with a group and somebody ahead jumped on a log in the middle of the trail. Unfortunately, that stirred up a nest of yellowjackets (I'm not an insect expert but I'm pretty sure it wasn't bees) and we wound up running through a minor swarm. Out of 7-8 people running together, everybody got stung once, some more than that. I was stung once right on the kneecap. Later in the race, I was running with another woman when we came up to another nest. We could see them swarming like a cloud right over the trail. At this point, the trail was near the river and the woman looked at the swarm, looked at the river... and jumped in to walk around them. I followed her after thinking about it a few seconds. More stings avoided!

Anyway, I told the two woman this story, and in some unlucky timing, we literally hit a swarm 5 minutes after that, and I was stung on my left thigh. Everyone else was stung as well. Argh!

Later at the aid station at the bridge (the course looped back), I told them the bad news: we hadn't even gotten to the places the yellowjackets were last year. Fortunately, there were no more incidents for the rest of the race.

The route crossed York Rd, where there was another aid station. I chomped down a few snacks, refilled water, and continued. This section of the trail was scenic and shady, but also had some hills. Footing was tricky as the trail wandered close to the river as well.

By around mi 10, I was starting to feel the heat and humidity. There was a shallow stream crossing, and took the opportunity to splash water on myself, dip my hat into the water, and put it on. That kept my head cool for a few minutes and felt really good.

Back at the York Rd aid station, we just had 1 - 1.5 mi left to go. I knew there was a long gradual climb ahead, so it would be some work to get back to the finish. After doing that and getting to the paved trail the race started on, I noticed another modification - our path up was on a new trail that cut the switchbacks.

At the top the race officials/volunteers asked if I was going out for a second loop (i.e. doing the 50K). I probably said no too quickly, and they tore off the timing section of the bib.

I do like this event and the trails are nice. I'm just thinking that visiting in the fall/winter might be better, to avoid stings from yellowjackets.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Pain

My friend Michael talked me into doing an endurance run, an event with a time limit rather than a distance, e.g. run for 6 hours. The one we went to was the Labor Pain 12 Hour Endurance Trail Run in Reading, PA.

Pretzl City puts on some fun events - I've done a few: Chilly Cheeks, Mt. Penn Mudfest. Even better, a few other friends were also going - Carrie and Cindy. Michael also brought his son Graham along, but Graham didn't run as he was recovering from an injury.

Michael was from the area, so we even lucked out and were able to spend the night at his friend's house and not have to drive up that morning.

We arrived at the race and staked out a table in the pavilion area. It was already warm while we were setting up our stuff.

The race began and I hung back, not wanting to get trampled by the faster runners and knowing that typically these events wind up having a funnel effect the first place we enter the woods. Sure enough, about half a mile into it, we were all waiting patiently to get on a trail.

I ran a fairly easy pace and felt OK, but the trail was rockier than I thought it would be. There were various minor hills, short sections of the road, and overall it was a relatively clear trail except for chunky rocks. No stream crossings! By the end of the first lap, it was hot and humid and I was thinking that I'd be happy with the marathon distance.

This event has a cool premium - clothing embroidered with the milestone distance you completed. Milestones were 26.2, 50K, 40M, 50M, and maybe something higher like 100K for the absolute trail running animals. If you didn't hit a milestone at all, you'd just have the item with the race logo, which is also cool. So my initial goal was 50K, but by the 3rd lap it became a marathon.

At the end of lap 3, I decided to wait up at the pavilion for Michael and/or Cindy. As it happened, they both showed up almost simultaneously, so we all started lap 4 together. Michael said he wasn't feeling well and planned to stop after lap 4. Cindy and I ran together and by the one aid station on the course, had run several minutes ahead.

We talked and both came the same conclusion: today, in the heat and humidity, a marathon was the new goal.

Lap 5 brought some relief from the sun and heat... it rained on us for a few minutes. The rain didn't really cool anything down unfortunately. And it passed but a few clouds lingered which was nice.

2/3rds through our lap 5, Carrie passed us on her lap 7 (!!). She said she was scaling back from 50M to 40M and disappeared around a corner. She zoomed by so quick I think I heard a Doppler effect in her voice!

Cindy and I entered the pavilion and finished up our lap 5, which meant we just had to run to a turnaround for the marathon. Shortly into the trail we came up to a tree with the "marathon turnaround, after 5 laps" sign, touched it, and headed back. At this point, oncoming runners would yell out congratulations, since we were running backwards and they knew we were done with whatever distance we had planned. Basically the marathon and 50K had turnaround points.

Overall it was fun, hot and humid (but then, the weather is uncontrollable), and I'm looking forward to receiving my embroidered race premium. The race cycles between hoodies, jackets, and fleece vests - this year happens to be the fleece vest year so that will be nice in the fall/winter.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Signal Knob

It's been a long time since I wrote in this blog!

Over the past few years my athletic interests shifted towards trail running. It is nice to get away from crowds and traffic, fun to be outdoors, a great workout due to challenging terrain, less monotonous due to that same challenging terrain (roots, rocks, streams, hills, etc.), and I like the sense of exploring.

Last weekend, my trail running friend Mike planned a trip out to the Massanuttens, the north part near Front Royal. The area is referred to as "Elizabeth Furnace" or "Signal Knob" and quite a few events use those trails. Elizabeth Furnace is one such event (named for a blast furnace that operated in the 19th century) but there are several others. After hearing so much about the Massanuttens and its various events, and those trails, I was excited to check them out myself!

We drove down with another friend of his (Gretchen), and met another at the parking lot (Kate), so we were a group of four getting ready to run a 10-11 mi loop along the Massanutten orange-blazed trail.

Heading out of the parking lot we started a long climb towards "Signal Knob". It was rocky and fun, and overall we were holding a pace somewhere in between hiking and running. Come to think of it, there is substantial overlap between trail running and hiking. ;)
This shows the typical rockiness of the trail. I can run but slowly and carefully, and in any case on a trail I wind up power-walking a hill anyway. These were too steep and too long to run the entire way up!
Mike is a fast hiker and went up ahead to take a pic of Kate and me as we came along the trail a few moments later. Here I am wearing my Annapolis Half hat from the inaugural 2011 event, which has some red vents on the side. I think it makes me look like I have horns. Anyway, I was determined to run this section of the trail and didn't see Mike taking pics until I got closer to him. Kate is behind me partly hidden by a tree.
Later he took a great pic of me and Kate descending a trail towards the end of our ~11 mi loop. I like how you can see the leaves changing colors at the top of the trees.

Back at the Signal Knob parking lot, we took a few moments to eat and drink, before loading up and driving over to Elizabeth Furnace which is very close. The goal there was to run/hike a trail named "Shermans Gap" which links two longer trails together. It's mostly a climb right up the side of a mountain, with switchbacks.

Mike thought Shermans Gap was about 5 mi round trip, so we figured we'd hit the top at 2.5 mi. At that point in the run/hike, 2.5 in, we knew we weren't near the top at all - no view of the sky through the trees, and the trail visible in front of us continued on.  We were barely into the steep section, so all of us groaned a little bit... but nobody wanted to stop. All of us were ultra trail runners, we had plenty of water and food, and going an extra mile or so was no big deal. We'll just be able to tease Mike in the future about that "5 mi route" that actually turned out to be 7. To be fair, it was off his memory and he hadn't hiked it in a few years.

Shermans Gap was steep, and is part of a few 100 mi races: Massanutten 100, and Old Dominion. The mind-boggling thing is on the Old Dominion course, it comes towards the end of the race, mi 80 or so. Basically runners enter the aid station at Elizabeth Furnace late in the run, already tired, knowing they are facing a huge climb in the dark. So a percentage of the runners that drop the event do it right there. Anyway, our run turned into a hike and the relentless climb stretched ever upwards. We got slower, stopped to talk to some hikers who were lost (they were a few miles away from the site they were trying to get to, along a different trail), and resumed grinding up the mountain.

I got a burst of energy and decided to get to the top, or at least a place that was close enough - there wasn't really a scenic overlook at the top of this particular climb, so when the trail leveled off onto the ridge is about where the top is. I thought the others had enough and didn't want to resume climbing after talking to the hikers. I figured we were close to the top because we could see the sky through the treetops.
I reached a tree marked as the intersection of three trails: orange - Massanutten; blue - Tuscarora; pink - Shermans Gap. And I decided that was the top for me, took a few pics, then headed back down.

 Mike, Gretchen, and Kate were about 100 yards from the top and when I told them close it was, Gretchen and Kate also determined to "summit". Mike was fine so we took a break while waiting for the ladies to return.

After they came back, we started the descent to Elizabeth Furnace. Once in the parking lot, we loaded up and drove into Front Royal, VA for some Mexican food - we were all starved. And it was delicious, or we were hungry after burning off 2000 calories or so, haha.

 The two hikes combined were 17.4 mi in 5:46 moving time. We averaged around a 20 min/mi pace, which is more of a fast hike than a real running pace. Good times! I'm looking forward to returning and exploring more of the trails on the Massanuttens.

Our loop from the Signal Knob parking lot and trailhead:

Our out-and-back from Elizabeth Furnace parking lot: