Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hillwork at Maryland Heights "Wedgie Hill"

Tristan and Gilligan climbing the mountain (Gilligan hiked with Tristan rather than me because he is lazy). He does his best and did a pretty good job of sticking with Tristan, until Tristan's last interval in which Tristan tied him to a tree...poor doggie

Since I was running alone, I was so excited to see Gilligan when our paths crossed again, so he got a big bear hug!
Hiking down to the overlook to the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac River right below Harpers Ferry

Gilligan and I at the overlook taking a moment...he was smarter because he took this time to get off his feet. I will have to remember this strategy during Umstead 100!
Tristan and Gilligan getting some Ice Cream at Brusters...the perfect post hike/run/hillwork treat! And because it was rainy our second scoop was supposed to be FREE!

Today Tristan, Gilligan and I drove about 45 minutes west of our house to Maryland Heights. Maryland Heights is right off the C&O Canal (the same ~200 mile towpath that part of the JFK50 miler is run along near Harpers Ferry). We went here for a change in our hillwork training in preparation for Umstead 100 and VT100 (me) and Mt Rainier, Mt Shasta and Mt Shuksan (Tristan). This is one of the largest hills that is runnable in the local area (less then 1 hour drive and the path is a jeep trail not single track). Maryland Heights has a ~8 mile loop trail that starts in Harpers Ferry and goes up a mountain, along the ridge, then loops around comes back to the Potomac River. Along this trail hikers have the opportunity to go by several nice overlooks along the ridge, followed by a cute overlook that is on a rocky outcrop above Harpers Ferry. The view also provides a perfect vantage point to see the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandaoah River from hundreds of feet up. Since it was a gloomy day, Tristan and I went there for some hillwork and followed by a hike.
I ran the majority of hill/mountain 3 times and Tristan did a small section we have named the "wedgie section" 6 times. We call it the wedgie section because there is a historic marker which illustrates how union (or perhaps confederate soldiers) would carry/push very large cannons up the mountain to shoot at the enemy over the Potomac or Shenadoah River. In this historic marker, there is a illustration of how they did this including a picture of a person slipping a wedge under the wheel of the vehicle carrying the cannon. Tristan and I really glad we are not living in that era nor is that our profession, because it would really be a bummer to be the wedgie guy and have a bad day. 1) Wedgie guy would probably get squished and 2) his battalion would also probably get squished and 3) the canon would have to be pushed up this 1500 foot mountain again (and running/hiking is tough, we can only imagine how hard it is to pull or push an item!)

After our run/hike we came home by way of Brusters for ice cream because it was raining (and of course Gilligan wanted his freebie doggie sundae). On rainy days Brusters is supposed to give out a second scoop of ice cream for free. Sadly our scooper did not get the memo...oh well, at least the flavors were good and our ice cream/frozen yogurt was good. Our local Brusters currently is only serving vanilla and strawberry yogurt which I don't really enjoy. But on Thursday with Bring your Own Banana night for a 1/2 price Banana Split, it only costs $2.48 for a banana split and I can give alot of my yogurt to Gilligan who LOVES it!

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