Jay Peak 25k ~or~ the day you find out what you are made of.
I was not prepared. I knew it. I was running right through the summer (after a one month hiatus in June for an injury), but with the new school year approaching, and a family trip to NC the miles tapered too soon. I was not going to not run though. I knew this. I needed to run (for myself) 15 mountain miles. I had to prove I could not only run a trail half marathon+ but actually run 15 MOUNTAIN miles.
Jay Peak is Vermont’s 9th highest peak. It tops out at 3,766 feet. In comparison, for those more familiar with the ADK’s Mt. Marcy is 5,344. Still, Jay is sizable for any trail runner. We set out on a nice jaunt through the bottom woods near the tram house and the lodge. We exited that and looked a couple thousand feet up a ski slope. Every time I reached the horizon, on the ski slope, there was more vertical beyond. Finally we entered woods, joined The Long Trail, and scrambled (my favorite) to the summit of Jay, passing changing tree zones from the deciduous to the coniferous. We would go on to summit Jay’s sister peaks that same day, and climb, climb, get off course, climb and climb some more. Those dark places Jon speaks of, were mostly mine. Under prepared, I gave in to the urge to walk a good deal of the hills… no, mountain. I also had what I would classify as a full out panic attack at one point (it [panic attack] tried to creep back in a second time). Walking up to one of the peaks, I began to tap my fingers together uncontrolably, started to cry and asked for Jon to stop, when I got to him, I buried my head between my knees, hyper ventilated a little, and panicked. I doubted my ability to finish. This happened at the Monster Half, but I some how worked through it alone. This time I had Jon.
I gathered myself, realized I am a true trail runner, and in true coyote bushido style, finished what I knew I could do. Monster 1/2 took me almost 4 hours. To run 15.53 in under 5 hours was a great surprise. This was no trail run on a large hill in central NY, this was a mountain run in VT. Running Jay was truly the day I found out what I was made of… what I am… a beasty mountain runner.