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Downtown Temple,NH

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tour de Horse Hill

One of my new favorite runs is what I call the Tour de Horse Hill. It is run entirely within the boundaries of Horse Hill Nature Preserve in Merrimack,NH and acts as my primary training grounds for my next race: the Stonecat Trail Marathon in 10 days.

The trails (until yesterday) have been in great shape. A lot of work has been done over the last year to clean up the trails, build bridges and cut new trails around some of the wetter sections of the preserve. It is a HUGE improvement over just a year ago and I'm fortunate to have access to these trails just 3 miles from my house.

The Tour consists of running nearly every trail in HHNP with as little backtracking as possible. Although I've never measured it, my guess is it's in the 10 mile range, good for nearly 1 1/2hrs of trail enjoyment. My new favorite trail (and one of the only ones I need to backtrack on since it's an out and back) is the Quarry Trail. It connects HHNP with Wasserman Park and is probably the most technical single track in HH.

I headed out last night for another tour in my quest to test various gear in all kinds of weather conditions. I want to be sure I make the right gear choices for Stonecat. Turned out to be an abbreviated tour due to the trail conditions. It was cold (low 40's) and raining. Actually, raining really doesn't describe what it was doing. It was more like running in a waterfall. I don't think I've ever run in rain like that before. ALL trails were 100% flooded and most were ankle deep with water.....very cold water. Although my GoreTex shell kept the top half warm and dry, my feet were absolutely frozen, to the point of hurting. If it rains like that at Stonecat I'm staying home. Seriously, it was dangerous out there and I was only running for about an hour and 20 minutes. Dedication or stupidity?