As I've mentioned a few times, as well as in my first post for the 150k in 100 Days, it was never the amount of climbing that was going to be the major challenge in this challenge - it was all about time management, follow through and putting in alot of vertical when I had the chance. It was the getting in as much as I can when I can that seemed more like training than just pure fun at a moderate effort because after 10,000'-15,000' in 3 days the next few days offer no moderate effort!
The only negative effect the last 100 days had on me were the inefficiencies I've developed for "flat" running that running up and down steep hills/mountains will cause. This video posted by GZ a few weeks ago spoke volumes to me about inefficiencies in running. The first one that comes to mind is the toe lift. I don't think you can run up a steep incline w/o applying some sort of toe lift. Not a huge thing for me as I won't be doing any flat racing anyway, but doing this much incline for 100 days certainly has made flat running feel like I'm running into a 60 mph head wind.
I have become much more efficient at running up and down steep inclines, but I'm not much faster at it. This has everything to do with the fact that I did almost all of it a very moderate effort. I am a little faster at this moderate effort, but as soon as I try to put the hammer down the heart isn't quite ready for the hard effort. This is probably just a specific training issue.
So, what I've realised, or I should say verified, is that training to be fast/efficient at any race takes a good mix of training. To be fast at PPM requires some flat speedwork. To be fast on the track also requires some hill work. I'd go as far as saying that in an extreme case flat running is more important than hill running for speed on a hilly race. For example, look at 2 completely different demographics, a flat lander that never trains with hills and a hill lander that never trains flat. I think a flat lander who has a great marathon base and is capable of doing alot of speed work can do well at say the Pikes Peak Ascent or the Imogene Pass Run. And this flat lander will be "more successful" at his/her mountain race than the hill lander who just runs a ton of hills. And yes, since this is hypothetical I'm disregarding the altitude factor!
Anyway, my point being is that, for me, I have seen a HUGE deterioration in some running efficiencies that are very important in any racing and I need to do some things now to get them back. I'm quite sure my stride length has suffered quite a bit as well.
Now for the good stuff!
The biggest challenge the past 100 days was the travel I had in my schedule. This was also the greatest part. I had the opportunity to run in some amazing places that I'd never be able to on my own. NH is an incredible place to explore the mountains. I was able to take a slow, steep climb at near max effort in the French Alps in Chaminox - I actually left my breakfast on that mountain! Without a doubt, though, it was Snowdon that was the most memorable of all the places I was able to visit. Something about this area that made me feel like I was in another time. Perhaps on a clear day in Wales I wouldn't have felt as strongly about this, so I'm glad I had the damp, foggy day on Snowdon.
It's funny how, in alot of great experiences, the difficult part of it is usually tied very closely with the best part of it. I've been doing this for years and plan to do it for many more, and right now the challenge is fitting this in while still making the most of my time with my family. I feel strongly that I've done this part well. Why? Because my kids ask and plan to go on trail runs and hikes. That, my friends, is the greatest part of all of this - a life-style that seems to be getting passed on to the next generation in my family. An activity that my whole family loves to do. As this continues and the kids get older balancing the 2, family and trail running, will be obsolete. The 2 will become 1 and the balance takes care of itself.
I'll just have to figure out a way to keep up with them!