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 Run The Kanc V2.0 - 35 Miles of Pavement 
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:51 pm
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Location: Derry, NH
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 Run The Kanc V2.0 - 35 Miles of Pavement
Preface: There is a pictures link at the bottom of the page. But I also put the same pictures into a musical slideshow. Whichever is your preference, Enjoy! Lastly... I know this isn't hiking.. but we all drive this road at least 5 times a year.

Setting Goals and Training
Coming up in about 3 weeks is a little race known as the Vermont 50 Mile Endurance Run. 50 Miles... a number that is almost hard to fathom. Most people don't even enjoy DRIVING 50 miles.. never mind running it. But with the event coming fast, and after a productive August with training, I knew I needed to test myself by running further than I ever had before, before running further than I ever have before.

A year ago I attempted to run the 35 Mile Kancamagus Highway from Conway to Lincoln. On a cool autumn day last Labor Day Weekend, I tackled the road as best I could only to call it quits at Otter Rocks and hoping on a bike for the last 6 Miles. My legs killed, my pectoral muscles had collapsed and I could barely walk. But at the end of that day I looked to my parents and said, "Well... looks like I gotta do this again." After chopping through the insane glares came the question known as "WHY?" The answer was simple... "Because I didn't make it to the end... I gotta finish what I set out to do."

So.. one year later I arrived in Conway at the Sace Ranger Station and prepared myself for another go at running a highway we all travel so often while in the Whites. But this time it was do or die. Previous to this day the furthest I had ever run was 34.6 Miles of TRAIL. What makes this challenge so different is the pavement.. if you'll allow me to get into that. Training for a trail running event by running trails is one thing.. but pavement is like throwing a wrench into the gears all together. Training is not JUST about the miles, its about putting Time on your feet, pushing yourself the the limit and simulating the pain you'll have to endure once your adrenaline runs out. Running the kanc is the PERFECT training run for a 50 miler.. and by the end of the day.. I knew why.

But alas.. here I was at 8am.. stretching, getting ready for the day. Setting Sarah up for her support duties, setting up the checkpoints and pysched myself up mentally for this AWESOME challenge. I was ready to go... and the time was here. Todays Goal for me... Run the 35 Miles in 8 Hours or less... a goal in which I thought was rather ambitious. The REAL goal I had was to finish in no more than 10 Hours.

Sometime last year I started playing e-mail tag with a fellow Ultra-Runner who goes by the name of Hans Bern Bauer. He lives in North Conway and works for RSN-TV. Hans... is A MACHINE. Hans runs in 100 mile events but more impressively runs in various 24 Hour running events. This coming December Hans is running in the Across The Years (ATY) 48 Hour running event. Last year he ran 115 Miles in 24 Hours at the event (See his profile HERE) Hans and I will be travelling to Maryland in November for the JFK 50 Miler, so a training run was in order. So.. bright and early, he pulls into the ranger station with us and ready's himself for the days challenge as well.

Hans has done this many times before, but not in the last few years. I think he was just as excited for this adventure as I. But above all else, it was the company of a fellow Ultra-Runner which would prove to be best. Its nice to be able to have like minded people to discuss the madness you both love to take part in.

8:38 AM - Saco Ranger Station - Conway, NH

As I stood next to the sign on NH 112, Sarah snapped a picture as I was finally ready to go. Hans tied his shoes and as soon as he was done, off we went down the road. Hans rubbed my shoulders while he danced about, giddy as a school boy. This is what we live for. Even though we were 35 miles from the end of our day.. its the LAST thing we ever thought about.

The first 8.9 Miles would be a critical section of road for us today. While it starts off mainly flat, it quickly turns into a narrow road that winds its way about the banks of the Swift River. It has MANY up and downs, twists and turns and just as it was last year.. home to a construction project. The hardest part about it is NOT getting hit by early morning drivings in a hurry to get nowhere. Even as the road narrowed into the construction area, with no shoulder at all for us to run, cars would FLY around the corners missing us by merely inches. I guess it was just part of the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish today. Defeating the pavement, conquering the challenge, rising above ourselves and dodging motorists.

9:37 AM - Checkpoint #1 - Mile 7 - Lower Falls

Sarah had checked up on us a few miles back.. but this was our first official checkpoint. As I trotted into the Lower Falls parking area, all I could think of was food. I strolled in next to the car and decided to have a banana and another bagel. I ate cereal for breakfast this morning and it was NOT sitting right. I had a horrible stomach ache but decided to see how much further I could run on it. Hans came running in behind me after a break into the woods and got a quick snack of his own before we headed back out onto the road.

As we continued on our way we noticed a few rock climbers ascending the cliffs just beyond lower falls and on the right. I never thought anyone climbed these cliffs and was pleasantly surprised that someone did. Hans and I would continue onward with a methodical pace towards our next checkpoint. We kept each other great company by talking about anything and everything that came to mind. Myself intrigued by Hans and he seemingly as intrigued by me. Each with our own areas of knowledge, dispencing it upon each others ears. I was having a GREAT time.

10:11 AM - Checkpoint #2 - Mile 8.9 - Rocky Gorge

The winding highway with nuisance hills was finally over... for now. As we came upon Sarah waiting on the side of the highway with liquid refills, it was time to get out on the flats. This would begin section 2 of the kanc. A relatively flat section of highway with numerous straight aways which seemed to go on forever. Well... at least for the next 7.5 Miles.

As we ran on down the road, hans and I took turns in the lead. It really came down to who was in the woods last. If it was me.. Hans will have run ahead and carried on. Then he would duck out into the woods.. and I would take the lead. We saw Sarah at Champney Falls but opted to just run by. The run to this point today has been run rather easily. We hadn't truly pushed ourselves and were more or less enjoying the day with the goal of finishing in mind.

10:47AM - Checkpoint #3 - Mile 12.1 - Bear Notch Road

As we approached Bear Notch road we saw Sarah waiting on the side of the road. Then we saw a white jeep cherokee drive by as its driver honked. It was Hans' mother and she pulled up next to Sarah. As Hans and I ran up to the check, it was great to see Sarah and Hans mom shaking hands with introductions followed by my sweaty smelly self as I strolled on in. His mother is a wonderful woman who was heading off to hike Hedgehog Mtn or Potash Knob. After many smiles and well wishes... we carried on our way.

11:15AM - Checkpoint #4 - Mile 14.1 - Downes Brook/Passaconaway Campground
11:27AM - Checkpoint #5 - Mile 15.3 - Sabbaday Falls

At Sabbaday Falls I finally had to give in. My upset stomach had finally taken its toll on my mental abilities thus far and I needed some relief. As I entered the dungeon known as Mr. Clivus, Hans continued on up the road and I would catch up with him in due time. As I exited my throne room, I found myself having a headached due to the stench inside. Sarah handed me my refilled bottles and said, "get running, you'll get some fresh air." YES MA'AM! I was feeling MUCH better. I ran these final sections of flat terrain before things finally decided to head up, up and up. The real climbing would begin soon. Hans and I had really motored along the last few miles.. making the last 6.4 Miles in 1 hour and 16 Minutes. Not to shabby for two guys passin the fat and stopping for treats at Sarahs Stops. We were VERY happy with progress.

11:45AM - Checkpoint #6 - Mile 16.4 - Pine Bend Brook Trailhead

The party is definately over. As we run down hill into the turn at Pine Bend, we see the line of cars from hikers out enjoying the day. Sarah has squeezed the car into the lineup and offered us some last minute refills and food. I eat half a snickers bar and a banana and hans fuels up as well. Our next checkpoint is quite a ways away and we needed to be ready to go. I took off by Asics running shoes, which I need to throw away, and laced up my Solomon trail runners. These shoes offer great support but feel like rocks today. Whatever though.. it was a nice change and off we went.

We started to wind our way towards Kancamagus Pass. The road still affords us a few flat sections but also has its precursors of inclination. Sarah waits at the Sugar Hill pull off for us to come on in. As we got closer and closer.. the hungrier I got.. "Hey hans.. when we get to Sarah.. I think we should eat some lunch." His smile indicated that he agreed.

11:57AM - Checkpoint #7 - Mile 17.3 - Sugar Hill

We ran into Sugar Hill with empty stomachs. The snickers I just had did nothing for me. I sat down on the rock wall for a stretch and a PB and J sandwhich. Hans ate his own treats which looked like English muffins with PB and J on them. Sarah snapped a few photos as we talked about our day thus far. Neither one of us felt tired, in fact.. I felt like I was just finally waking and warming up. My stomach was still upset and I was getting a bit irritated by that... but I worked through it as best I could. After a refill of the bottles.. onward and upward again.

As we leave Sugar hill we are faced with the first major incline. I led us up the hill for as long as my calves would let me. But you can only run baby steps uphill for so long before it drives you nuts. I opted to stop running and get into the walking. Hans seemed please with my uphill walking abilities by remarking on how concise my stride is. Long relaxed strides that seem to carry me comfortably uphill. This is where years of hiking plays into the game. All of a sudden, a greay car rolls by and gives us a honk. I turn to hans and say "Hey Hans.. was that....??" "Kevin Tilton!"

Kevin turns around and comes back up the hill, parks his car in the shoulder and gets out to walk uphill with us for the next mile or so. He was just coming back from Plymouth where he ran a 5K race in 15:28 (close enough). Kevin also tells us about how he has made the US Mountain Running Team and will be heading out to Turkey (the country) for the world championships. Hans is right when he says New Hampshire should be VERY proud of a homegrown success such as Kevin. The three of us pushed up the hill at as fast a clip I had in me.. enjoying each other company and laughing at many jokes. This would prove to be one of my favorite parts of the day.

As we neared the pass, Kevin reflected back with us on our day as he had run sections of the Kanc on ocassion himself. We agreed that so many of us drive the kanc at an amazingly fast speed trying to make it to our destination. But seldom do we slow down enough t truly enjoy thr magic that is before us on this stretch of land. No hiking trails in the area afford us the same views that this mountain road does, yet here we were today.. emersing ourselves in the mystery that is the Kanc. We could see for miles, enjoyed the views and even watched the forest change its many coats along the way. Kevin said his goodbyes as Hans and I made our big push for the top.

1:10PM - Checkpoint #8 - Mile 21.7 - Kancamagus Pass (Just shy of a Marathon)

As we ran into the pull off we were greated by my sister, my brother in law Mike Robinson who was ready to run, my two nephews Timmy and Kenny and Mtn Magic. Of course Sarah as well. I went to the car to munch on some boiled potatos and salt to get ahead of any cramping which may occur. My stomach is turning and I opt to hash it out for awhile longer. I ate some more snickers bar and banana's and even munched on a bagel. Mike had knee surgery on his ACL back in May and wanted to help me out once again on our new yearly Kanc tradition. His knee is equipped with a new knee brace.

After much hello's and how are ya's.. it was time to push off and head for the tip top of this monster road. And then.. switch gears for some knee pounding downhill for the last 13.3 Miles of the day. We stopped at the pass sign for some pictures... a memory now captured forever.

Still feeling GREAT! Just some sore knees.

??? - Checkpoint #9 - Mile 24.4 - Hairpin Turn/Hancock

Before getting to the hairpin turn, there was a point on the road where we saw Mtn magic walking toward us. As we ran up to him, he asked how we were. He drove ahead of us, parked and met us to do some running. So in his hiking boots and all ran beside us at an equal clip down the road. I got a HUGE kick out of this.. but Magic's smile was well worth it. As we ran into hairpin, I stopped for some more potatos and salt and to refill the bottles. It was here last year that I was ready to quit... today.. aside from sore knees.. I knew I would finish the journey.

2:15PM - Checkpoint #10 - Mile 26.9 - Otter Rocks

Last year this is where I called it quits. This year, I stopped briefly to say hello before continuing on. My knees were killing me from the pavement, but mentally I was still in the game. nothing else seemed to hurt except the back of my calves. Up to this point, Magic has now run with us about 3 times... each time more entertaining than the last.

2:50PM - Checkpoint #11 - Mile 29.9 - Lincoln Woods

I turned to run into Lincoln Woods while Mike and Hans continued on. I needed to use the bathroom as my stomach was now in knots. As I saw Sarah I told her, "Not to self, no cereal the morning of a long run ever." She knew it was going to cause a problem.. but let me learn my lesson out on the cement. After coming out of these well known bathrooms, Magic gave me some scooby snacks, Sarah topped off the bottles one last time and I grabbed my red bandana to sop up some of my sweath before it stung my eyes anymore. As gross as this may all sound or seem, its good information. I urinated about 18 times today, clear everytime. I used 2 latrines for other purposes and was still sweating. Everything is functional and working just fine. A great sign during these long distances.

Mike and Hans were about a mile ahead now. Funny thing is.. I could see them. As they walked, I ran to catch up. I took me a little while to get jumpstarted again due to the sore knees. But once I got moving I felt better running than walking. Shortly down the road, I ran past a sign that said "Now leaving the White Mountain National Forest" across the street a new sign "Welcome to Lincoln." Goosebumps ran up my spine. I was running alone still trying to catch Mike and Hans. With them in my sights, the first feelings of accomplishment ran through my bones. I smiled, even yelled a little and picked up my pace. I was in Lincoln.... @#$%^ LINCOLN NEW HAMPSHIRE... after running here from Conway. WOW

3:20PM - Checkpoint #12 - Mile 32.4 - Loon Mountain

As I ran towards Loon, we had decided to run on the Bike Path. This would be great for added training. The short up and downs are what should be simulated for the trail runs. It was also nice to get off the road and away from the cars. The stench of brakedust is nauseating at the very least. I ran upto the old Logging Train and gave it a pat... history lives. Mike thinks of calling it quits here, but figures he's come this far and will carry on after getting a drink and tweaking his brace. Hans and I walked the path while we waited for Mike to catch up.

The three of us ran towards town, running past the time share developments. A few of the bikepath hills were proving to be tough to run, so we stopped to walk fast. My knees are very sore, my feet hurt around the arches and it all adds up from the pounding of the pavement. Punishment = Pain and enduring that pain = success. I carried on.

As we entered Lincoln Village, Magic came running across the road with a blue fleece in hand. He had just bought it for $3.50 in the first shopping area in town and was overjoyed by the great deal. Magic ran with us a little more, disappointed he couldn't run further, but what he had run increased my respect for the man. I appreciate his help and enthusiasm immensly. I gave him a beaver patch finally too. Thanks Magic.

Now.. uphead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, my eyes grew heavy and my sights grew dim... opps... Sorry... I was getting a bit distracted.. not in the trip report... but running through town. I did see the light in the distance... the traffic light where this Journey Ends. And as I could see it.. and the many cars, shops and sidewalks ahead... my focus was gone. It was time for this journey to end.. I've had enough for one day. I slowly pushed through town heading for the end. Each step increasingly more painful than the last and only due to the pavement. I knocked on the window at Steve Smiths to wave hi.. Magic told him I had made it this year.

As I looked back, Hans was still with me, Mike had faded back. he was spent.. exhausted. his knee still feeling great, but just tired after his first long run.. hell.. first run since knee surgery and its a 13.3 Mile "fun run." We waited for Mike to walk and catch up to us... we HAD to finish together. With all three of us in check.. we ran past McDonalds and straight into the Visitors Center...

3:53PM - FINISH - Mile 35 - Lincoln Visitors Center

And here we were... 35 Miles (and 13.3) after we began.. we endured the highway known as the Kanc. I was so happy that we had finished and after check of my watch.. WELL in advance of my projected time and even what I felt was over hopeful times. After 7 Hours and 15 Minutes, I had beat my "lofty" goal by 45 Minutes. I gave Sarah a huge hug and thanked her for her help and for believing in me. I gave hans and Mike a hug and thanked the whole Team. We did this together and it will forever be a great memory in my mind.

The Vermont 50 is next and I know I'll finish the race. Runners have 12 Hours to cover all 50 Miles. If I can finish it in under 11, I qualify for the Western States 100.. a race I have only dreamed of running. I will set my sights on simply finishing and hope for the best. My training has gone well through running as well as Strength and Conditioning. But most importantly, I am on top of my mental game in a HUGE way and easily able to overcome the pain through my body which is known to erect "The Wall." I AM READY.. LETS GO! The best part about VT is I've got Drew as my crew chief and Sarah in tow, a few hiker friends plan to wait for my finish and all will be well. Lets party! This day was great just as all the rest ahead will be.

Special Thanks to Hans and Mike for running
Magic for his unique support
Ann and Sarah for Support
Drew for encouragement
And Bob and Geri for their support as well... welcome to trail running!

Check out the pictures from today HERE
For those who wish to experience the pictures differently check out the musical slideshow HERE. Gotta Click the Play Arrow!

Upcoming Race Schedule:
Saturday, September 24, 2006: The Vermont 50 Miler
Saturday, September 30, 2006: The New Hampshire Marathon
Saturday, October 21, 2006: Nifty 50 Miler - Rhode Island
Saturday, November 18, 2006: JFK 50 Miler - Maryland



Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:44 pm
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:20 am
Posts: 779
Location: Lancaster, NH Avatar: On the trail again
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Glad to have shared more than a mere mile with you.

Wishing you all the best! Including PoisonIvy, Tramper Al et al.
I'm so there on two out of four!

With all good wishes!

OurNew England Hiking & Adventurer's Group. Knowledge. Events. Fellowship. And more!

Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:28 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH, USA
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SJ, no worries about this not being hiking, it's close and it shares the basic premise of the site: getting out into the woods (or at least close to them). Quite a read, thanks!

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Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:13 am
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:20 am
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Location: Lancaster, NH Avatar: On the trail again
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Chris wrote:
... Quite a read, thanks!

Heck this borders on a tome. Great day SJ, great running with you, and sharing some pizza quality time at GH in Lincoln.

OurNew England Hiking & Adventurer's Group. Knowledge. Events. Fellowship. And more!

Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:12 pm
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