Sunday, September 30, 2007

Running with Owls

Crisp temperatures prevailed today making for excellent running conditions. Felt an easy day was in order, and I decided to hit the woods out back since the technical trails would help prevent any urges to pick up the pace. Also, I wanted to scout out a few potential hunting spots for when the season begins next month.

I meandered through the 1.5 miles of technical trails that leads to the fire roads, coming across a gaggle of turkeys which scattered as I approached. Despite seeing several hundred wild turkeys in my lifetime, the way their necks move when scurrying still amuses me.

But the biggest highlight of the day came when I encountered another bird, a barred owl (photo to the left courtesy of University of Oklahoma). I saw it on the uphill along the fire road, it's massive wings propelling it above the clearing to another tree limb several hundred yards ahead. As I approached, it flew away again, and I watched as it eventually made a left turn into the woods and out of sight.

Another mile or so later and I was at the lake. I stopped here to admire the view, as I usually do. I sat on the fallen tree that goes out over the lake, and watched an unidentified hawk fly along the surface.

Ran up the hill away from the lake where a guy was examining the engine of his ATV. His engine had overheated, and he asked me how far it was to a road. Told him a dirt road was just up the trail about a quarter of a mile, and he would be able to put it in neutral and coast down. He said he had a phone and planned on calling his son to pick him up.

Continued along and the trail brought me back to the fire road. Stopped to examine a small, dried out bog for any signs of deer activity, but it didn't look very promising. Continued along and was back on the trail, where I ran into two other friendly ATV'ers who were looking for directions and I told them about the paths.

Had planned on running to another bog closer to home to scout it out better, but opted to do that in a separate trip later. Wanted to get home and run errands before the football games start. Turned out to be a good decision, as my friend and neighbor Kate had just baked apple dumplings and she brought me over a few, which I mowed down in no time. Great way to end a run!

Ran 7.3 miles @ 8:40/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 142/163
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Charging the Hill Again

Clear skies and cooler weather today made the decision to run up Little Ossipee Hill again a no-brainer. Last weekend's run up the hill was a lot of fun and I really looked forward to being able to see the views without the fog. I definitely was not disappointed and was glad I brought along my cell phone camera along to get some shots.

The run up went well and I got to the top a little faster this time than last. I came to a viewpoint a few hundred yards from the summit and stopped to take in the views of Little Ossipee Lake, Arrowhead Lake, and the surrounding foothills which were awesome. However, they'd pale in comparison to what was just up the trail.

Finished the run to the top and even though I prefer not to climb man-made structures like fire towers as they wig me out, I sucked it up and climbed up to the platform about two-thirds up the tower (20 feet?) . It was worth it. The views were incredible. I could clearly see the White Mountains in all of their glory to the northwest. A few nearby trees in the way, but once the leaves fall off in a few weeks, I suspect I'll have an even better view that will include Mt. Washington.

To the east, I could see the sun shimmering off the ocean, which was a remarkable sight. And all around, I could see the other foothills, lakes, ponds and other landmarks dotting the countryside. It was really cool. Sat there for about 10-15 minutes to soak it all in and then climbed down and ran back down the hill.

The last three miles are on the roads and pretty flat and I picked up the pace a little here and cruised on home. Great run on a beautiful day.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:06 mile/pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/167
Paved roads, jeep trails, trails.
Insanely hilly.
Lower-mid 60s, sunny.

1 - 7:48
2 - 7:40
3 - 7:33
4 - 8:08
5 - 10:01
6 - 10:35
7 - 8:10
8 - 7:44
9 - 7:20
10 - 7:14
11 - 6:56

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Where in the Heck is Autumn?

Another hot one today. Not as high of a temperature today as yesterday, but the humidity made up for that. Very muggy out with the passing of some big thunderstorms this morning that helped saturate the air with moisture. More are expected tonight as a cold front pushes through, and the cooler air behind it will be most welcome.

Got in an extended workout before meeting up with the XC team to help overlook their practice. Legs felt a little rusty with all of the time off this week, but no big deal.

Ran 4.2 miles @ 7:40/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
80 degrees, muggy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Easing Back

Getting over that bug, and ran a measly one mile today. 90 degrees out today. Way too hot for this time of year.

Ran 1.0 mile @ 7:45.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
90 degrees, sunny.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Encrypted Goals

This bug has taken a good-sized bite out of me, but I suspect it'll go away in a few days. In the meantime, I thought I'd have some fun.

Below, my revised marathon goals are encrypted. All you need to solve it is provided in this posting. Not that anyone would want to know my silly little goals so badly that they'd go through the trouble strictly for the purpose of what I am hoping to run. I am not that pretentious. But if you are like me, you are always up for something for the sake of a challenge (and personally, I'm a sucker for puzzles like this).

If anyone bothers to try to crack the code and does so successfully, I will buy the first person who does so a six-pack of their beverage of choice.

Here ya go:


25-8-21-25-17 20-22-19-29-48 29-13-4-8-39 11-14-15-15 37-24-21-17-19 36-33-27-18-30 22-32-7

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I woke up this morning feeling pretty crappy. Came out of nowhere, as there wasn't even a hint of impending sickness all day yesterday. Nothing big, but a very bad sore throat upon waking up and a slightly nauseous, weak feeling. Thought if I downed one of my homemade smoothies I'd feel better and give my planned long run ago, but after a mile or so into the run, it became obvious that calling it a day was a good idea.

Already felt the hay was in the barn for the marathon in three weeks, so I'm not worried about not getting this final long run in. Also don't feel I'll have this cold for long. Bug has been going around the school, and for most, it only appears to be lasting for a few days.

Ran 2.9 miles @ 7:53/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/154
Paved roads, trails.
Mostly flat.
Mid 60s, sunny.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Running up Little Ossipee Hill

Little Ossipee Hill is one of the most prominent geographic landmarks in my town. The fire tower and radio antennas on top of the 1058' hill can be seen from miles around. I tried hiking up it once before with a friend a little over a year ago, but I was unsure of the route and bugs swarmed us, so we turned around. Still, I always thought it would be fun to try to run up it. I've been wanting to do it for a while, and now that the deer flies are gone and hunting season hasn't begun yet, what better day than today? Plus, I knew my way to the top this time, thanks to my friend and neighbor Kate.

photo courtesy of

The run started out innocently enough with three miles of slightly hilly roads that are part of a few of my other routes. I then reached the dirt road at the base of the hill near Little Ossipee Lake and the climb began. I figured it was probably another mile to the top (insert annoying wrong answer buzzer here). A mile into climbing relentlessly up the hill I knew I wasn't even close. Sections were so steep, especially closer to the top, that I was actually forced to walk (gasp!). I loved it though, it was just what I was looking for. So, instead of a mile of buttkicking uphills at the base of the mountain, I got 2.5 miles. Definitely got my money's worth.

I reached the top where I can imagine the views would normally be quite awesome, but alas, it was very foggy this morning and visibility was limited to only about a few hundred feet at best. Still, at the summit was a fire tower, and two radio antennae towers which were neat to see up close. I know one of them hosts a repeater for a local HAM radio group, and another for Hollis Fire and Rescue. The others, I'm not sure. The fire tower was pretty cool also. I climbed about halfway up it, but it gave me the willies so I climbed down. Funny how I can sit on the edge of a 2000' cliff and let my legs dangle off, eat my lunch and not think twice about it, but climbing man-made structures still wigs me out.

Run back down was of course a treat, and I reached the roads again and jaunted home, hitting my last mile split in under seven minutes. Very glad to have done this run and can't believe I haven't done it before. Very scenic route that provides a great workout. Really enjoyed it.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:09/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/171
Insanely hilly.
Paved roads, dirt roads, jeep roads, trails.
Lower 60s, overcast, foggy.

Mile splits:
1- 7:48
2- 7:40
3- 7:36
4- 8:19
5- 9:37
6- 11:27
7- 8:05
8- 7:47
9- 7:25
10- 7:10
11- 6:48

Friday, September 21, 2007


Not much to write about for this run, but since this blog also serves as my training log, in it goes. Just ran the warm-up and cool-down with the XC team. Looking forward to some big runs this weekend before the taper.

Ran 1.3 miles @ 7:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Recovery Workout That Wasn't

Have grad school this afternoon and evening, and my boss graciously let me go to do my run during my prep time at the end of the day. I meant today to be a recovery run, but the quicker pace just felt very comfortable and I turned it into a progression. Might have been much smarter to have stuck with going slower as my hamstrings feel a little bit knotted up from Sunday's long run on the MDI course (hills galore), but so be it. Will have to be more careful next time so I don't risk injury.

That being said, aerobically I feel like I'm in very good shape and I'm feeling better and better about putting out a decent performance at the MDI Marathon next month. One more long run this weekend and it's taper time!

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:18 mile/pace.
AHR/MHR - 153/169
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny.

Mile splits:
1 - 7:45
2 - 7:28
3 - 7:23
4 - 7:18
5 - 6:59
Last .5 - 6:29/mile pace.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Night Taking Over

The cross country team had a shorter run today so I got in some additional mileage before practice and met them at the field where they did 400M repeats. Legs felt good after Sunday's long run. Feeling good about the MDI marathon on October 14th.

Days continue to get shorter at an alarming rate. Currently there is 2:57 less sunlight each day and it won't be long before the nights are longer than the days (official length of day currently at 12:22). I don't mind the shorter days. It does make running a bit more challenging, but that's easily taken care of by running on roads with less traffic or ones that have ample shoulder room. Wearing a reflective vest and also a headlamp if necessary are also big helps. And those cold, winter mornings make a hot cup of coffee taste so much better... especially after a weekend long run.

Ran 4.7 miles @ 7:20/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/168
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Running the MDI Marathon Course With the Three Blind Moose

Exactly one year ago today, I started this blog. One of the major sources of inspiration for doing so were the insightful running musings of Andrew's blog. Soon afterwards, I discovered other running blogs that I enjoyed reading on a regular basis, such as Mike's and Marc's. So here I am, one year later, and who do I spend my weekend running with? Fittingly, those three guys, aka The Three Blind Moose. I immediately felt comfortable around all of them and we had a blast. Our main goal for the weekend: Run the Mt. Desert Island Marathon course over two days, with Sunday being the long run. And of course, have tons of fun in the process.

Saturday Morning
I left my house at 4:50am on Saturday morning, as I wanted to get there in time for the start of another race on the island, the MDI YMCA Half Marathon to cheer on my buddies Ian, Emma and Erik, who I train with regularly. Upon reaching Bar Harbor, I parked way too far away and barely got there in time, but was able to find them at the starting line and wish them well. I walked up the road in hopes of seeing them run past me, and the starting gun went off. I turned around to see the entire field running in the opposite direction. Oops.

I drove up to Eagle Lake after the start to cheer them on at a couple points and a hard, driving rain began to fall. After seeing them through, I made it back to the finish line just in time to see them finish. All three did fantastic, with Ian narrowly missing his PR (which is very impressive, given the relentlessly killer hills on this course) and Emma placing third woman overall. Erik also seemed very happy with his performance, and it was a real treat to cheer them all on. Great job guys!

Saturday Afternoon
After the race, I went to the Blackwoods Campground to set up my MSR Missing Link. Stakes are needed to set the tent up, and I thought I had left my tent stakes at home (which were later found in my bag). I improvised with the help of a few well placed stones, and after finally getting it set up, I ducked inside and changed into some dry clothes and fell asleep.

During my two hour nap, the rain had stopped and the sound of a motorcycle woke me up, marking the arrival of Andrew. We exchanged greetings and soon after he set up his tent, Marc and Mike showed up for our afternoon run. We drove up to their hotel which was near the starting line of the marathon course. Our run began there, and we followed the hills along Route 3 for the next several miles leading back to our campsite at Blackwoods (also located just off the course). A very nice little jaunt, and it felt great to get reacquainted with the course and get to know my blog buddies better. We took some additional distance here as we ran through up the road that led to our campsite, and enjoy a cooldown walk to the tent.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 7:39/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/165
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 50s, mostly to partly cloudy.

Afterwards, we showered and hit Geddy's for some food and drinks. Great time as we continued to exchange stories and laughs. Food was great also. Also fun to watch the Red Sox beat up on the Yankees badly. Turned in early that night, only getting a few pages into my book before I clonked out.

Sunday Morning
I woke up around 9 1/2 hours later at 6am, and Andrew was already up and making tea with his new Jetboil stove. We got our running stuff ready and Mike and Marc showed up soon afterwards. Checked out at the campsite and we parked on Rt. 3 right across the street. The run began, and we picked up exactly where we left off on the course yesterday.

A few miles in I had to make a pit stop at Seal Harbor and Mike waited for me. We caught up to Andrew and Marc not far up the road where they had stashed some water.

Onwards and upwards, and downwards and upwards, downwards and upwards... repeat over and over again. This is one hilly course! It's great, I love it. What makes it even better is the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Mountains, rugged coastline, harbor towns, thick forests, this course goes through it all. If you're having a tough stretch, all you have to do is look at your surroundings.

We reached Sargent Drive which goes along Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the U.S., where we made sure to point out to Andrew the town of Southwest Harbor across the water. You see, he loves the fact that you can see the vast expanse of water you have to run around in order to get there. It invigorates him and fills him with glee. We were happy to oblige.

We reached the tip of the fjord and the town of Somesville. Marc planned to call it a day here and had his car waiting for him at a gas station. He then very graciously drove to Mike's van to get some food and picked me up a Gatorade and drove back to our ending point.

Meanwhile, Mike, Andrew and I took on what is the most difficult section of the course, and go figure, it's at the end. You climb for around 4 miles of hills, being teased all along that you're near the top only to see another stretch of uphill just around the bend. Finally, we did indeed reach the top, and enjoyed the mile and change descent down into Southwest Harbor and stopped at the course's finish line. Soon afterwards, Marc showed up with the goodies, and drove us back to where we left our cars and we bid each other farewell.

It was really great to finally be able to meet the infamous Three Blind Moose. Thanks guys for a terrific weekend. Look forward to four weeks from now when we do it all again!

Ran 20.8 miles @ 7:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/173
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid-40s to upper 50s, sunny.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quick 5K

Quick meaning distance, not pace. Ran with two other teachers today after work before heading over to meet the XC team and oversee their practice. Nice day out and good weather.

Taking tomorrow off from running and will head up to Mt. Desert Island early Saturday morning. Plan is to get there in time to cheer my buds Ian and Emma on for the half marathon they're doing up there. Afterwards, I'll meet up with Mike, Andrew and Marc to get in a shorter run that afternoon. Then we'll do our longer run on the marathon course on Sunday. Will no doubt be a great time, and Mt. Desert Island is one of my favorite places on earth. Can't wait!

And a big congrats to my buddy Devon for her outstanding performance at the World Cup 100K last weekend. Her report is now up, so give it a read and offer her a congrats if you get the chance! Also, my local running friend Blaine finished his first 50K in grand fashion with a very good time.

Ran 3.11 miles @ 7:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/152
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 60s, sunny.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fartlek, MDI Marathon

Yesterday's rain gave way to sunny skies, cool temps and windy conditions. Nice because the sweat evaporates faster. A fun part about my role as assistant coach for the XC team is that I often get to work out with them. Was happy to take part in today's fartlek drill. Went very well. Break down is as follows:

Ran 6.8 miles total @ 6:44/mile pace.
2.0 mile warm-up @ 7:27/mile pace.
5 X 5:00 minute fartleks with :10/:15/:15/:10 intervals between race and sprint speed. 2:00 rest in between.
Fartlek average pace between 6:00/mile and 6:13/mile.
.8 mile cool down @ 7:59/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 154/174
Paved roads and grassy field.
Mostly flat.
Upper 60s, sunny, windy.

I also finally registered for the MDI Marathon yesterday. I wanted to get to a point where I felt I could run it at least decently before I decided to enter, and feel like I'm there enough now. Only about four weeks left to train for it, which isn't a lot, but distance-wise the hay is already in the barn. Just need to continue to get in some speed workouts like I've been doing and I feel I'll be okay.

Goals for the marathon? Well, I'll be happy to break 3:30. If I don't it won't bother me much. I'll just give it my best, have fun, and whatever happens, happens. I already got my fulfillment of big, personal accomplishments for 2007 with the Vermont 100, no need to get greedy.

Heading up to Mt. Desert Island this weekend to meet up with Andrew, Marc and Mike to run parts of the course, including a long run on Sunday. Very much looking forward to that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Despite a chilly, relentless rain we took the XC team out for a nice 6.1 mile hill run. Actually, this course really only features one hill, but it goes up for 2.8 miles, getting progressively steeper until you reach the top. It's a buttkicker, and our team looked really strong pushing up to the top.

Part of the descent is on trails, and I pulled ahead with the frontrunners during this stretch. Some fun was had splashing each other with mud (these are high school kids after all) when we reached any particularly big puddles. Great workout, and we (or should I say, I) really pushed it hard. Very happy with the pace and heart rate for a route this hilly. Amazing how much the cooler temps can make a difference in performance.

Ran 6.1 miles @ 7:02/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 159/171
Paved roads and waterlogged trails.
Very hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, steady driving rain.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Trails and Deer

Today was one of those runs where with every step it just feels good to be out there. I suspect a return to more seasonable temperatures had a lot to do with that, as a cold front has stalled and is bringing cooler air and much needed rain along with it.

The trails weren't as muddy as I thought they'd be, which is a good thing. Bugs were also non-existent. Ran my usual route up to the lake where I stopped to enjoy the views for several minutes. The fallen tree over the water I normally walk out on was wet and slippery, so I didn't chance it. Still was able to spot a green frog and an unidentified hawk of some kind flying over the water way on the other side of the lake.

I ran up the ridge and back down, and on the way back, decided to take an extended route that goes through a bog and past a pond I sometimes fish at. At the edge of the bog, I spooked two deer (both does). Through the brush, I could see they were frozen, waiting for my next move. My attempts at a bleat call yielded nothing, and I moved on and so did they. A few feet later I had a clear view across the bog, and I watched them quickly bound away through the swamp, taking giant leaps over the vegetation.

I reached the fishing pond, and noted the den I had seen a beaver building earlier this summer looked abandoned. I stopped to see if I could see any signs of him, but no such luck. It's a big pond though, perhaps he went else where.

From the pond, it was just about a third of a mile back to my house. Finished the run feeling strong. Very good run overall. Felt effortless and pace was quick for these trails.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 8:26/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/162
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
60 degrees, overcast, damp.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Heat, Drought and Woodpeckers

After two days off (felt my legs could use the rest), I was raring to go today and had an enjoyable easy run. What was surprising to me was that I barely noticed the heat and humidity (80 degrees, 70% humidity). I felt comfortable in these conditions when normally I don't. Must be the Florida roots in me coming out.

Despite going through yet another heat wave, signs of autumn are perhaps making themselves known. I'm seeing more leaves starting to turn their colors, but I wonder how much of it has to do with the drought we're experiencing. A lack of rainfall will generally result in a less colorful display, but it's too early to tell.

I also noticed that despite the heat, the deer flies were 100% absent during today's run. Normally they swarm me when I run down the dirt road on this route, but they simply weren't there. I suspect this is in large part related to the drought. Rain is finally expected later today and over the next several days (along with cooler temperatures). We could definitely use it, so even if it does spawn another hatching of those annoying little devils, I'm willing to deal with it.

I also saw a pileated woodpecker fly overhead as I was running down the dirt road. That was a real treat. Neat birds, and big too.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:31/mile pace
AHR/MHR =- 153/167
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
80 degrees, sunny, humid.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Running in Orchards

Today's ran was with the cross country team I help coach. Ran up a grueling 1.8 mile hill to an apple orchard where we hit some of the trails around the farm. The kids also ran some speed workouts on a hill there, and afterwards we ran the same route back. Beautiful weather out today!

Ran 4.3 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 140/171
Paved roads, trails.
Extremely hilly.
70 degrees, sunny.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Twin Brooks and Twilight

In my area, we are currently loosing daylight at a rate of nearly three minutes a day. It won't be too much longer before we'll be needing the headlamps at Twin Brooks for our Tuesday night trail runs. This evening's run went well. I took it easy on the pace and my legs feel much looser, and just a normal amount of soreness from Saturday.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 8:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/151
Very hilly.
Upper 60s.

First day of students is tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to them coming back and having another great year. I'll also start assistant coaching for the cross country team again tomorrow as well. Many of my workouts over the next several weeks will be with them. Can't wait to get it all started!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Loosening Up

Today's run isn't much to write about. Just was looking to work out some knots in the calves and gluts, and today's little jaunt definitely helped. They became more sore than usual after Saturday's mountain run. I suspect this has a lot to do with experimenting with my stride on the uphills. I normally take big, sasquatch lunges and power uphill, but on rocky, steep terrain, this is especially inefficient. It required a lot of mental discipline, but I managed to take much shorter strides on many of those parts. As a result, the effort was noticeably more aerobic and efficient, in addition to taking advantage of different muscles in the legs.

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:26/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/157
Paved roads and trails.
Mostly flat.
Lower 70s, sunny.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pemi Loop Mountain Run

Al, Natasha and I set out for a 31.6 mile mountain run today around the Pemi Loop in the White Mountains (8 peaks over 4000'). We agreed in the beginning that we were all basically looking to go pretty fast, but no pressure at going super fast and not worry about what time we'd finish in. Just enjoy the day. That was good, as my legs were far from feeling fresh. We had a great time and I really enjoyed their company. A lot more story to be told with today's trek, but alas, I'm tired and will keep it basic.

Length: 31.6 miles
Time: 11:40:02
Elevation gain: 9000'+
Peaks: Bondcliff (4265'), Bond (4698'), South Twin (4902'), Garfield (4500'), Lafayette (5260'), Lincoln (5089'), Liberty(4459') and Flume (4328')

Play by play:
1. 2:09:00 - Lincoln Woods Trailhead to Bondcliff Mt.
Started at 5:30am. The first 4.6 miles of the trail are flat, so we slowly ran this section in the dark not. Natasha and Al's company kept my mind off how tired I was feeling from not getting much sleep the night before. Hit the Bondcliff trail and made the ascent up to the summit, which was blanketed in clouds and not many views to be hand. Wind was also whipping at a pretty good lick, but nothing too drastic. Felt a bit chilly but not overly so. A long sleeve tech short over a short sleeve and my shorts were ample.

2. 26:34 (2:35:34 cumulative time) - Bondcliff to Bond
Powered up the short and steep trek up to Bond and rested briefly on the summit to eat a snack before continuing on.

3. 1:17:12 (3:52:46) - Bond to South Twin
Original plan was also to do West Bond, but we had run past it a little and decided to skip it. We were low on water, so we hiked down to the Guyot campsite and refilled down there. Hiked back up to the trail and continued on to South Twin. Still in the clouds at the summit, but there were signs that it was starting to break up.

4. 2:13:32 (6:06:18) - South Twin to Garfield
Arduous descent down and afterwards we stopped at the Galehead Hut for a snack. Bought lemonade here, which really hit the spot. Mowed down a roast beef and cheese wrap I had brought along as well. We took our time in the hut, perhaps staying 15-20 minutes, before moving along. Climbing up Garfield is a tough ascent and we cranked it out as best we could. Reached the summit and enjoyed another break on the summit. The clouds had lifted now and we were treated to spectacular views, which we soaked in for a bit before continuing on.

5. 1:43:03 (7:49:22) - Garfield to Lafayette
If I were to pick a least favorite stretch, this would be it (which is not to say it isn't enjoyable). But we toughed out the roller coaster speed bumps of the ridge and ascended up. Reached treeline where we spotted two gliders taking advantage of the wind, and enjoyed watching them maneuver. Soon afterwards, we reached the summit, where a large crowd was also enjoying the great weather.

6. 21:42 (8:11:04) - Lafayette to Lincoln
Ran when we could, making a point to be respectful and courteous of the other hikers. Lot's of folks out today, as expected since it's a holiday weekend.

7. 1:18:02 (9:29:07) - Lincoln to Liberty
Ran into Mats Rolling here, who was on his second day of a self-supported hike of all 48 peaks over 4000'. He hoped to be done in 1o days. We chatted with him a bit and wished him well before moving on. Crowds began to dissipate greatly after the Falling Waters trail, a popular trail up to the ridge. Gliders continued to fly around the peaks.

8. 30:29 (9:59:35) - Liberty to Flume
We were all feeling pretty tired now. Reached the summit and took a break and enjoyed the views while Al hit on a German woman.

9. 1:40:27 (11:40:02) - Flume to Lincoln Woods Trailhead
This is always a fun descent, as a lot of the trail is very runnable as the rocks aren't that bad. Stopped to refill on water at the river and eventually reached the Wilderness Trail. Al's friend and his 14 year old daughter had caught up to us along this stretch. They also ran the Pemi, and started a half hour later than us. I was very impressed with a 14 year old young women being able to run this loop. She has an extensive athletic background, making it possible. Reached the cars and were done! Stopped in Lincoln for some pizza and then enjoyed a leisurely drive home while listening to Dead Can Dance on my iPod the entire way back. Great day!