After a few drinks on Christmas night 2012, Garett and I made a friendly bet of trail running, hiking, ski touring or mountain biking a million vertical feet in 2013. As my husband was driving us home, we calculated the average vertical gain that would be required per day; way too much for me especially if I wanted to continue with CrossFit and yoga! I texted Garett and we agreed on ½ million vertical gain in 2013.
Garett hooked me up with a Suunto Ambit watch that I wore for all my trail runs, hikes, and mountain bike rides. In the past, I’ve never diligently tracked my mileage or vertical gain so this was a new challenge for me. I loved it. It motivated me to get out in the mountains on days that I was feeling less motivated.
The outcome: 460,224 vertical gain; shy of my goal by 39,224 or 107 feet a day! Hopefully, in 2014, if I can stay injury free (I had to take some time off for a foot injury) I will reach 1/2 million. To some ultra-runners, achieving half a million vertical feet in a year is nothing (almost laughable) but for me it was the perfect challenge: it pushed me but still allowed me to maintain my other athletic interests. (Update: 2014 results: 586,333 vertical gain and 2000+ miles)
Here are some highlights from 2013.
Devils Loop: 12,132 vertical gain
Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run: 21,986 vertical gain
Fat Dog 50 Miler: 10,900 vertical gain
One of my favorite local hikes: Granite Mountain to the lookout tower 3,800 gain
Squaw Peak 50 miler Utah: 10,197 gain
Humpadayathon: 13,835 gain
Another local favorite Teneriffe Mountain: 3,800 gain
Before work on Monday’s & Thursday’s I take my dog up Little Si.
Humpdayathon (Wednesday) started with a crisp climb up Mailbox (4100 elevation gain in less than 3 miles; more like 2.5 miles) and followed by a few more mountain peaks and hours of slogging in the snow. The planned peaks: Mailbox, Teneriffe, Mt. Si, Little Si, Rattlesnake traverse & Tiger Mountain. The mileage options: 50km, 100km, and 100 mile. ALM and I set out to do a 55 mile loop with roughly 18,000 feet of elevation gain from my house. Tim & Angel picked us up near my house in North Bend and drove us the three miles to the start; we contemplated running to the start but opted to catch a ride and have an extra hour of sleep.
As predicted lots of snow & very slow going. We lucked out with a ‘blue bird day’ and spectacular views.
The view from the top of Mailbox.
The crew on Mailbox Peak
Teneriffe – a total slog to the top. We hiked up the Kamikaze Falls Trail and continued to the summit. The hike is about 4 miles w/3750 feet elevation gain. (On a normal day this is a tough, steep climb but with the recent snow storm it made it a total slog).
Teneriffe summit – Stunning views!
After crawling up Teneriffe we took the snow filled service road to Talus Loop. The snow was so deep on the service road it took us hours to go 4 or 5 miles. At this point, most of us our discussing stopping at 50km because the snow is so slow going and Rattlesnake traverse will be a nightmare w/this much snow. In addition, some runners did not bring enough food for this section b/c it wasn’t supposed to take all day.
We connected to Talus Loop and then to the main Mt. Si trail. We hiked up to the summit and then ran down the Old Mt. Si trail. We ran up/down Little Si and met the aid crew at the parking lot of Little Si. The aid station crew spent their day volunteering and were amazing! The aid stations were stocked just like a race with delish goodies including butternut soup, pizza, meat and avocado wraps and comfy chairs, warm down jackets and sleeping bags. The volunteers were awesome.
The 100km runners bailed at Little Si and called it a day after 32 + miles, 13 hours and 13,858 elevation gain and the 100 mile runners decided to shuttle over to Cougar/Squak Mountain for another 50km.
All in all, a super fun and stunning day climbing up and down the mountains with some really cool people.