Tag Archives: mount misery

Fast Tracks New Year Day Run

Happy New Year everyone.

The club’s traditional New Year’s Day run at Valley Forge Park was this morning. It starts at General Knox car park and heads out on the rolling hills of Yellow Springs Road, then takes a sharp right up the vertical challenge of Diamond Rock Road. There were around thirty people at the start point consisting of Fast Tracks members and other from various running groups in the area that we meet with for regular runs.

This run is certainly a challenge as the hill of Diamond Rock is a constant climb and just seems to get worse as you progress; ending with a section that is around a 20% incline (if my cycling memory serves me well).

There were a few of us at the front and we stopped to take a picture at the bottom of the hill (I wasn’t in it; I took it). 

As we started up the main part of the hill there were four of us. Three of us made it to the top within a couple of seconds of each other, although I was there first. 😉

One of the club members lives near the top and had kindly left a few drinks out for us (much appreciated). We all waited a while for the bulk of the group to catch up and then decided on routes back down.

Most went back along the road, but a small group of us decided to do the Horseshoe Trail that connects onto the op of Mount Misery and takes you back to the start point. This is a nice route that runs along the ridge at the top of the hill and is (again) rolling hills.

Parts of the trail get quite technical and it comes at you quite fast too. I missed a couple of turns due to my unfamiliarity with the route, but the people I was with spotted it within a hundred feet or so.

There was a log book partway down the trail and a few people stopped to sign it and some chose to take longer route down the mountain and around the Creek Trail. I stuck to the plan and did the Mount Misery Trail, getting back first out of the group. I rarely run with the groups so I’ll take whatever I can get but will add that it is not a race. I just finished first. Some people were running up the hill with a child in a jogging chair; now that’s dedication.

After hanging back in the parking lot for a while waiting for people to come in and to say a few ‘happy new year’ greetings, I headed back to the car and home.

Here I am in my new Fast Tracks running shirt that I picked up just yesterday in anticipation of the run.
In total the run was 6.9 miles, but, oh those hills! Nike+ Run Club doesn’t seem to give elevation details in the app or in the site.

The Apple Watch worked well today with the distance announcements coming out of the speaker on the watch rather than my iPhone. That made them much easier to hear rather than having them muffled by the case on my arm. Nice touch.

I wish you all a happy new year and hope you enjoy your running in 2017.


The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Runners

Monday mornings are traditionally my run/walk session with my friend. Because of the Labour Day holiday we let ourselves start after sunrise today as a special treat.

Also, it is the beginning of a new month and we normally change our intervals up. However, the mapmyrun app on android has a ‘feature’ that won’t let you adjust the run/walk intervals by seconds so you can only adjust it by whole minutes… 

Because of this I gave my friend a choice today: longer intervals or come and do a longer run with some hills in it. 

He foolishly chose the longer/hilly run around Valley Forge. It is a 7.25 mile route with rolling terrain that is a nice change from flat riverside runs. 

Hills are very difficult if you are not used to them. Even if they are only ‘rolling hills’. 

As we started the run Keith Straw (Ultra-marathoner) pulled into the lot. He caught up with us as we began our second interval and ran with us. I introduced my friend and we chatted about his running season. Once we moved into our walk interval he sped off to find the rest of the group.

We got to about the 5.9 mile mark before my friend asked us to to stop the running intervals. This is almost our normal interval distance but the added hills had really taken it out of him. 

That’s said, we still had to get back to the car and we were at the foot of Mount Misery. I’m proud to say that he chose to climb over rather than skirt around, despite being tired from the run. Excellent effort. 

With temps in the mid-60s and a low mist hanging through the valley, it was another beautiful morning. 

The hills were literally alive with the sound of runners today as the FastTracks running group did an extra group run at Valley Forge. It was nice seeing so many familiar faces as we ran around the park. We saw Keith another couple of times and got some banter going; always good for a long run. 

Our total distance was 7.7 miles with 760 ft of climbs which is a lot when you normally run totally flat ground. The pace doesn’t count because we walked the last 1.8 miles. 

We’ve also spotted another trail (Chapel Trail) through the park that is further away from rt 23 so we’ll be trying that out sometime soon! 

Big Wheels Keep on Turning

After my loooong run on Saturday I took a seven mile hike on Sunday morning to help loosen up my legs. Lots of hills and beautiful scenery climbing Mount Misery and Joy in Valley Forge National Historical Park. 

On Monday morning I went for a six mile run with my friend who ran into problems part way and we had to walk back. It was around 75F with crazy high humidity so walking was a nice option. My legs appreciated it too. 

Today is Tuesday and I took my freshly serviced road bike out for a quick spin before work. 15 miles of trails to Phoenixville and back was a lovely way to start the morning. 

I had my entire drive train updated and upgraded. New shoes, clip pedals, chain ring (36, 52), chain, gear cassette (11-28), and tyres (700x25C). 

I noticed that my shoes creak as the leather is starting to break in. They are my first road shoes that have carbon soles with no flex and the power transfer is very different to my previous shoes. 

  Bike Porn? 
On the way home tonight I managed to get up the monster hills in the big chainring still, no change there. It is easy to break 30mph on the flat now, too, assuming you can find a safe place to do this. 

Weekend Update

Stealing a title from Saturday Night Live, but I thought I’d share an update of the weekend’s activities. 

On Saturaday my friend and I hiked Mounts Misery and Joy in Valley Forge National Historical Park. We’d not done Joy before and it was an interesting walk. The whole route is only 3.8 miles but has a lot of uphill walking, although it is the downhill that tends to be the most tiring or strenuous for the knees! 

It was a lovely day with a light rain falling and temps in the 60s. Perfect.  After a proactive day sorting things out around the house I got an early night as today (Sunday) I was to ride the Chester County Challenge for Cancer ride. 

In preparation and after many years of delaying, I upgraded a few things on my bike. New road bike shoes (previously mountain shoes) with carbon soles coupled with new clips on the bike. After riding five years with SPD-20 mountain clips it was time to upgrade. 

I have to say that they made a real difference to the feel of the bike. The larger platform certainly transfers more power through to the pedals and are very comfortable.  

I also took the dive and bought a cycling bib. For years I have ridden with cycling shorts and wondered about bibs… They look weird and have no pockets; what use are they? 

Turns out that they are quite comfortable. The straps help to keep the padding in just the right position no matter how you move on the saddle and having no waistband is quite good after three hours bent over the handlebars. 

The ride itself was lovely. The weather dried up quickly and only a gentle sun shone upon us. In the past I’ve been very hot on this ride so it was nice to have a cool day. 

The ride is a very hilly route through Chester County that takes many scenic back roads. The volunteers had done an excellent job of clearing debris from the previous night’s storm and the markings were very clear. 

Another improvement was beer at the finish line. Yum. Thanks Victory Brewing Company! 

Now to relax a bit before an early morning run tomorrow… 

Have fun and “Stay frisky my friends”. 

And Now the End is Near…

Well, for this year at least!

I just completed my last walk of the year with my friend Ed. We didn’t do a run/walk because today we were trying something new; going up Mount Misery in Valley Forge and then along the Horseshoe Trail.

It was a beautiful cold day out there but we weren’t cold for long. The route very quickly turned into a climb as you can see from the profile.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4136.pngNote that the elevation numbers on the side of the graph are way off (a quirk of mapmyrun). It actually climbs from 60ft to 500ft. Overall the walk had 709ft of uphill.

Once we were up the main hill we basically walked along the ridge of Valley Forge mountain upto the Wharton Esherick museum; we was a famous woodworker and this is a fascinating place to stop by if you have the time.

The mountain was lovely today so I snapped a picture.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4134.jpgIn the background you can see the twin mountain Mount Joy.

While we were out we stumbled upon a kids campsite that was filled with all sorts of kitsch stuff, plus some pieces of wood to write entries in the visitor ‘log’.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4132.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4129.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4130.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4131.jpgI don’t know who Kate is but it looks like she has a lot of fun at this camp.

As this was the last activity for the year I can finally publish my totals. But not before pointing out that this was a ‘devil’ walk with a distance of 6.66 miles. Yeah – great way to finish the year! /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2014/12/img_4135.png

My totals were (drum roll, please):
Running: 1035.92 miles (goal: 1000).
Run/Walk: 87.49 miles.

I also ran two (unofficial) marathons with reasonable times.

These achievements pail next to those of my friend Ed who has lost a staggering amount of weight and who a year ago couldn’t walk 200 yards. He has done so much this year and I look forward to helping him continue next year. I beat some arbitrary targets. He got his life back.

Have a great New Year everyone. Thanks for following along.