Last week before I left Juneau I was able to complete a mountain run that I'd been planning for several weeks. I was pretty stoked when the weather finally cooperated the day before I left town and I had most of the day off from work. The specific route will only be of interest to those who know Juneau so I won't go into too much detail about that. To keep it simple I went up the Mount Juneau trail and came down the Mount Roberts trail, remaining on ridgeline the entire way over Olds Mountain, Clark, Sheep, Roberts, and Gastineau.
I thought that if things went well I might complete this loop in 7 hours. I ended up doing it in 4:56!
I didn't feel very good for the first 2 hours, but somewhere near Olds I began to loosen up and my body and mind finally got into alignment with each other. After the climb down the backside of Olds I really hit my stride and was cruising really strong the rest of the way. Climbing up Clark felt like it only took me a few minutes (was probably 20 minutes in reality). The climb up Sheep required about 1,000 feet of steep snowfield. Much of it was so steep that I needed to climb on all fours to use my hands for extra "traction." It probably took 30 minutes for this climb, but somehow I felt stronger at the top than I did when I began the climb. From there I was back on established trails and I knew I could cruise on down to where I had started as long as my legs held up. 80 minutes later I was back at the trailhead and feeling as strong as I had felt all day.
All told it was probably no more than 20 miles but likely had about 8,000-10,000 feet of climbing. Certainly one of the most satisfying runs I've ever done.
My body is stronger in the mountains right now than it has ever been. I have really high expectations for the Wasatch 100. I'm trying not to feel too confident, but it's hard not to be optimistic when I've had so many runs this summer in which I've climbed 5,000 or more feet and felt really strong. I haven't always felt great on my flatter, higher mileage runs, but almost every time I've gone into the mountains in the past 2 months I've come down even further amazed with the strength that I've coaxed into my body.