Fitting Up: Mt Airy Forest

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Pete’s been busy building up his fitness for Superior 100. In the next few days, we will post a few recent workout highlights.

March 15th: Spent 2 muddy hours at Mt Airy Forest on Saturday. Mt Airy is a real gem, about 2000 acres of unspoiled forest on a rugged ridgetop that is only a few miles from downtown Cincinnati. It was a spectacular early morning in the park.

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Even in full sunlight, the laaf-devoid forest had a pristine and primeval glow to it.

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The park is also the most convenient local place to get in some elevation and technical training, with plenty of rocks and roots scattered on its course. While the main loop is relatively flat as it winds around several long ridges across the Mountain, any time you get off  the main trail means a big, and often steep, climb or descent. The big challenge is the Stone Steps, which is a 300 foot climb practically straight up. The last half is a series of about 200 stairs carved out of local granite that are twisted, overgrown, warped, and otherwise mutilated.

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This was my first time attempting these. It is an awesome combination of quad burning, general muscle fatigue, and cardiovascular stress that tends to leave you in a collapsed state. While this is great for Superior, I’m not yet in very good hill shape, as had to walk a bit about halfway up. That sets up a good goal for the upcoming runs here!

To make matters more difficult, today the trails were very sloppy due to the spring rainy season.

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This makes the uphills much tougher from poor traction, and the downhills always an adventure. No signs of spring yet, but it won’t be long now!

Here’s what I looked like by the end.

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