Friday, September 2, 2011


This past week has witnessed me make yet another return to the trail.  A couple weeks ago I (of course) got a touch hasty and enthusiastic and my fibula told me I needed a few more days of lazing around with my feet up.  When I ventured up Green on Monday, though, things were fully back in order.

After a week's worth of Green outings, today I pedaled my bike the 24min over to the Cragmoor trailhead for a jaunt up what Joe likes to joke with me is the "Superior Summit". (With Green being the "Weaker Peak", of course, in Frogger parlance; all of this has to do with faux-snobbery and summit aesthetics.  There is no doubt, Bear's summit cone decisively trumps Green in height, unobstructed views and exposure.  Green is simply closer to my doorstep and more consistently runnable).

After switching bike shoes for MT110s and stashing my helmet and shoes in the bushes I tested the running waters with an 18min very light jog up the broad graveled path that leads to North Shanahan, the Fern Slab and the posts at the mouth of Fern Canyon.  Everything felt great (it seems hiking has eased me back into a modicum of cardiovascular fitness), but I exerted some discipline and immediately fell into a hike as I entered the canyon.  Within minutes, however, Fern's absurd grade and techy footing made my hunched over, hands-on-knees gait seem like the obvious (only) choice and I grunted and sweated my way to the summit, often even going so far as to reach out and use my hands for stability and power, four-wheeling my way up the peak.

Comparing my hiking times to my typical running times was interesting.  Typically, when fit and healthy I'll run from the mouth of Fern to the Nebelhorn Saddle in a mid-9 to low-10min split, gaining the actual summit in another 13-14min.  Today, hiking every step, my Horn split was 10:50 and it took me another 13:25 to get to the top for a 42min total climb from Cragmoor.  So, there seemed to be almost no benefit to running above the Horn and maybe a minute's worth of benefit below there.  I'll be curious as to how these splits develop in the future as I continue to work the running back in.

In other news, I am on the cover of South Africa's Go Trail online magazine this month, with a feature-length interview (pg 18) and some NB Trail Minimus commentary (pg 44) inside.


mtnrunner2 said...

Glad to see you running again, albeit tentatively. That must feel SOOO good.

I do love the summit of Bear, with those maroon and orange rocks.

Seriously, upper Fern is a rock-filled luge run.

Anonymous said...

Watched a programme on this years UTMB recently and was actually surprised about the amount of hiking being done by the top runners,even on the gentle grades. Keep up your disciplined return to training with multiple run's/hikes up Bear!!

Greg said...


Is there any way to get a pair of the mt110 pre release! I have heard great things about them. I love the mt101 and it looks like this shoe (the mt110) is a perfect combination of the minimus trail and the mt101.



Unknown said...

Great pics - and glad to hear you're getting back into stride. One question - who's the guy on the mag cover? Anton never wears a shirt!

Jeff Valliere said...

Sweet. Yeah, hiking for the most part is the way to go on upper Fern. The lower part is conducive to rapidly switching gears from running to powerhike (I think I run 60-70% of the way to the saddle). Above that, it is 95% hiking.

R. Logan Brooks said...

Awesome that you are getting a more uniformed mode of running/hiking in. Interesting split times heading up to the peak. Definitely makes me think in all seriousness since I have a local trail here in Arizona in the Superstition Mountains that has a ton of ascent over a super short trail. And it's shaded so that is more incentive to hike it and enjoy the shades. Take care Tone.

Carles Aguilar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carles Aguilar said...

Saludos Anton ... Desde España ..! he leído algunos de tus retos y realmente es algo espectacular ... Lastima Que Yo empezara una Correr Un poco Tarde Pero Aun así experiencias la tuya es algo que Me anima un Seguir Corriendo Dentro de mis posibilidades... Eres un Referente para mi y para muchos corredores ...!!

garobbins said...

Developing a strong power hike is one of the most overlooked aspects of ultra distance mountain running (as has been touched on before).
At HURT 2010 I hiked 85% of the climbs, saving on energy exertion that I was able to parlay into consistent splits, and strong descents.
Really interesting to hear how close these splits are given that your fitness will only get better from here on out as well.
Glad you're back at it. Hopefully we'll both make the starting line for UTMB next summer.

Rob Timko said...

Glad the injury kinks are working out!

To add a little contrast; I'm a slow runner, but haven't been injured, and did that same route today (JV was supposed to come but chickened out on me). My splits? Ha!

25:00 from Cragmoor to Fern post
19:00 to the Horn
27:16 to the summit.

1:11:16 to the top.

There wasn't much running. Ok, there was barely a jog on the gravel road.

I treated myself by taking Bear Cyn down. Can never beat cruising down that.


Joe Grant said...

Nice man...I miss it already...wait until you go up the slab then that will become the new standard route :)

Rick said...

There are some altimeter watches out there that have a "rate of ascent" feature. Great for training/practicing the run or hike thing. On something steep you can see that you might be gaining 70'/min running and 72'/min hiking. Works well the other way as well, showing that perhaps you are gaining more feet/min in the run gait.

Unknown said...

Your restraint and discipline will pay dividends soon.

Nope....that wasn't in a fortune cookie!

Good luck!

Local Mind Media said...

Of course, now the curiosity of your race plans is sparked. What do you see as a reasonable first race test? Is December 3rd too soon? You run so well on those trails that you'd be one of the obvious favorites. Do you know whether Uli is running? Terrific that you're on the upswing of returning. I'm looking forward to following the progress!

Anton said...

TIm - December 3rd is not too early. :-) (Assuming things go smoothly.)
I'm already psyched. I don't know if Uli will show up. Looks like he had kind of a rough time of it at White River this year and there will be at least a half-dozen other guys that will be at least as concerning.

The most important race for me right now is the dash to finish my thesis ASAP. Really tired of it hanging over my head.


Kendrick said...

I did a Grand Canyon R2R2R this weekend in the NB Trail Minimus shoes. I was just curious if you have the same problem with the Minimus shoes tearing up the back of your heal that's been experienced in the MT101's? The back of my heals are absolutely destroyed.

Also, the R2R2R was the first time I carried any significant amount of gels with me during a run. I carried them in pockets sewn into the back of my shorts. Wondering how you carry 10+ gels in your shorts without the weight bouncing as you run?


Anton said...


Nope, I haven't had that issue with the Trail Mini's (def acknowledge it was a problem w/ the 100 and 101, though).

To carry 10 gels I have a mesh pocket sewn on each hip (right in front of the side seam/split) and then an extra "key" pocket in addition to the factory key pocket sewn on the front inside. I carry 3 gels in each hip pocket and 2 gels in each inside key pocket.

Kakapo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kakapo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.