1,999 feet I believe... Cavanall hill
Oklahoma's claim to the World's Highest Hill. Today's plan was to fuel better, pre run and during to try and have better through run stamina and be able to get into zone 4b for most of the climbing. I don't do particularly well with pre run fueling...thought I was going big with a serving or little more of raisin bran and a big handful of almond slices. The cereal has added sugar so I thought that would be enough. It's difficult for me to get much volume on my tummy in the mornings, especially before long runs as I tend to be a little nervous anyway before these. With Cruel Jewel coming up fast in May, a 55 mi mountain race with 17,000ft of climbing, I am a bit anxious about my ability to climb.
Started out in good friend Josh's back yard, which butts up to the base
of Cavanall. We took off from Joshes house and up a bushwhacked trail up the "hill" for about a mile before we hit the road section of the climb. We crested the top and I sucked down a gel and some water and took a minute to recover.
Josh showed me where we were headed next....
straight down the power line. He let me go first. I took off and immediately went..."holy shit!" I did not fully realize until already in motion how steep the grade was or how loose the rocks/sandy slide was! I tried to slow down without crashing and let Josh lead the way. It was frighteningly fun...once I got back in control of my descent that is! Down down down and then off on a side trail and back up up up more bushwhacked trail.
This second ascent we hiked quite a bit of and my hr lingered in zone 4a and down in 3, but my calves and quads were on fire and my breathing quite hard, speaking in "yups", "nopes" and "uh huhs" most of the way up. Sipped water along the way. SHOULD HAVE taken another gel here, but didn't cross my mind..ugh! Crossed some field section and got completely tangled up in a branch landing flat on my chest. Guess I won't be wearing a skirt to work tomorrow...looks like I got in a fight with a bob cat. The shower experience should be pleasant as well. The next descent down cavanall on the road felt fantastic 1-2 miles of smooth road, nice breaze..able to focus on downhill form, relaxed, and able to actually hold a conversation. Hit the last mile descent back on the bushwacked trail and dropped Josh back off at his house.
Took in another gel and more water and was feeling quite spunky and ready to climb again. Solo this time back up the trail...this time more of a hike though, as soon as I started climbing much over a 3-5% grade the quads and calves would burn furiously and legs very fatigued....I think the gel was a little too little too late and the maybe 300-400 calories for breakfast were long since gone. My HR lingered in zone 2 and 3 max for the last ascent. I didn't recognize it then. I just thought it was the cumulative effects of climbing, lack of experience ascending that many feet over that many miles, etc. Basically, legs just not used to it. I was happy though...hiking steadily and running when I could. The sun was out, the temps were around 45-50 with a nice breeze. Saw a good size coyote running across the road which was cool. Got to the top and my backpack buzzed...buzzed..buzzed. My phone was going nuts! I was now close to the cell towers and someone was trying to get a hold of me! Work..."we need you to come in as soon as you can" (we had switched the schedule around and I didn't realize..I was supposed to be on today! -thanks Ashley for covering my ass!"... Me, "ooook...it's gonna be just a bit". 3 miles back to the car. Slim pickin's for food on the way back and was craving salt and potatoes....Hit McDonalds and got large fries and water...and lots of strange looks with my cat scratched dirty legs. Back in the car, home, shower, FOOD, and work. It was a bit surreal going from the top of the highest hill, climbing 5,000 ft in 12 miles, watching coyotes and now seeing patients all in the same day. What a day tho!