Last year my good friend, the lovely Ms. Jenn Ennis, told me she was hoping to be able to run Mountain Masochist this year so we made plans that we would run the race together. As you should know , Jenn has proven to be a natural at the ultra races but so far has never done one in the mountains or with any single-track trail.
So we planned on taking a day to head up to the course in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a training run and let her get an idea of what she has gotten herself into. With my injury issues and lack of running recently I was also in need of a good workout and hopefully a confidence booster with the race less than 4 weeks away now.
We picked a great day for the trip on Monday, with blue skies and temperatures in the low 70's. After the long drive we arrived at the Mt. Pleasant trailhead which is the location of the "infamous loop" on the course. From here we could use the car as a re-fueling station, as we ran the loop and then we would do a couple of out-and- back spurs on the course.
The trip around the loop went very well. It was a nice change to be able run it while I was fresh and to take the time to look around a little bit. I'm always very tired by the time I get there on race day and also in a hurry. Jenn did great but was a little timid going down the steep, rocky descent but I know she will improve with more experience. We stopped briefly for some pictures and then headed on down to the car.
After a few minutes to refill and snack we headed out onto the dirt and gravel roads that lead to mile 43 on the course. I quickly learned that Jenn has the uphill power-walk down pat and I found myself having to really hoof it too stay with her. She was also running faster and with more confidence on the downhills along this section too.
After heading back to the car for another refuel stop, we started going in reverse on the course back to the Buck Mountain aid station location. I'm not sure we ever got there or if we went past it but I know we got close at least. Things look a lot different than on race day and I'm usually not looking back where I came from.
By the time we made the last climb back to the parking area we were both getting tired and ready to rest. It was a most enjoyable day and we both got in a great workout making the trip a big success for both of us.