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We’re (“we” being myself and two of my friends) getting ready for our trail run of The Devil’s Path out in the Catskills this June and figured it might be a good idea to do some planning for the trip? After all, trying to push 24 miles of trail containing 7 peaks and 18,000′ of elevation change in under 12 hours is going to give us a serious run for our money! So we got together recently and looked at maps, trail descriptions, water sources, etc. And it was a good reminder that this type of running is taking it to the next level. Definitely had the, “if someone breaks a leg how do we carry them out?” discussion (trail out-points now being highlighted) as well as “worst case scenario if we have to hunker down for a day or two, are we comfortable building fire, finding food, etc.?” Another reminder to be well-prepared, comfortable with your skill level, and to choose your teammates wisely.

Granted, this isn’t high-altitude mountaineering – I made a vow to not pursue that when I decided to get married and have a family – but there’s certainly a fair amount of danger involved in mountain running. And I plan to be doing A LOT more of this as time progresses. Another good reminder of how important training and conditioning is. It’s one thing to be on your last legs and stumble over the finish line of a road marathon with fluids, cots, and EMT’s standing by. You can’t get away with that up in the mountains or out in the back country where you’re forced to be self-reliant and maintain a level-head despite being exhausted. Not being in proper condition means a tired brain and tired body and that eventually means mistakes, injury, or worse.There’s a pretty thin margin for error when you’re a day’s (or more) hike from the middle of nowhere.

I’m more and more stoked about this trip and looking forward to venturing into the mountains for some seriously challenging trail running!

Image by Miguel Vieira, Flickr. Used by Permission Under Creative Commons License.

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