Right on the heels of UTMB which was equal parts hiking and running, I harnessed some of that energy and applied it to the first week back in NH. 16 hours, 17.6k' and 100 miles - my biggest "run" week to date. This included the Millen Mile (not much to report here, managed to run a 5:04) and the Chad Denning Memorial Run - CDMR - (Tour du Moosilauke) which I'll highlight below. The following day I ran eight miles to hit 100 and while my legs were tired, they felt "hardened" in a good way.
The CDMR wasn't on my radar because I thought I had a conflicting event. Friday's Millen Mile certainly wasn't an excuse to bail on Saturday's long run so I told Jerimy Arnold (the RD) that I was in. I reached out to the elusive Tristan Williams and sure enough, he rolled in around 6:45am, right behind me, at the Ravine Lodge. There were several others running who I knew online but hadn't met in person. It was an overcast morning with low-laying clouds providing cool conditions. I had only been on two of the five main trails that the course follows so a lot of this was redlining for me. We started off slow and spent the first climb up the Ridge Trail talking and keeping together as a group. Chris Dailey was the only runner to take off at more of a running pace. The rest of us met up at the first intersection before spreading out. The descent down the Benton Trail put a few of us out of sight and the long and relatively flat Tunnel Trail offered up excellent running. Tristan and I headed out on our own and made the most of the easier terrain. We still kept it easy but were making great progress. By the time we hit the first aid station (peanut M&Ms) we were 2:45 / 13 miles into the morning. The next ascent was where we flipped into race mode, climbing the Glencliff at a good clip. We reached the col junction with the Carriage Road at 3:50 and were relieved to descend on a nice jeep trail for 2.4 miles before sidehilling back towards the Lodge. Along the way we kept asking hikers if they had seen Chris and the reports varied from 5 to 15 minutes. It was fun to have someone to chase down. We made it to the soda aid station where we fueled up on ginger ale and coke. The next climb up Gorge Brook Trail was a more mellow and a direct approach to the summit which the course dances around in the first two ascents. We caught Chris about 20 minutes into the climb and hung with him for a bit. Tristan started to have stomach issues so I took off ahead. At the summit, it was a bit of a circus, compounded by Flags on the 48. The clouds had lifted slightly but still cold enough to warrant a windbreaker. Five minutes later Chris and Tristan reached the summit. I said hi and bolted because I was meeting Hilary at 2:30 in Lincoln. The trail coming off the summit is slow with mini climbs and many boulders to navigate. Once we turned back down the Ridge Trail, things were runnable once again. I'd run out of water a ways back but was ready to get this done. Little did I know the Al Merrill loop at the end had a mini 300' climb that slowed things down considerably. After that climb it was a smooth and fast descent (2 miles / 1k'). I reached the trailhead and bee-lined it to Jerimy's car where the good beer was stashed. I grabbed one for the road and took a moment to appreciate the route I had just run. I never knew Chad but I couldn't think of a better way to honor him than this 50k.