On November 14th 2015, I did the Franklin Mountain 25k. That might seem like a departure, but when I tell you about it, you'll understand why I had to write about it.
First, it was hilly. Like crazy hilly. As in, you were nearly always going up or down, steeply. Over not-quite 25k, there was a little over 4200 feet in elevation gain. To put that in perspective, the Devil Mountain half has about 2200 feet, the Jemez mountain heavy half has 3400 feet, and the entire Bandera 50k only has 3800 feet of elevation gain.
Second, it was rocky. I mentioned Bandera above because more than 80% of THIS trail, in my estimation, was covered in fist-sized, ankle-breaking, angular rocks.
How to train for it. Basically, just pour your toddler's toys all over the stairs at home and go up and down them a few hours per day. Blindfolded. While drunk.
That third hill is right about the place wher I said, fuck this race. Fuck it right in the face. There are several false summits so you don't realize how long this very steep climb is, but eventually you get to the top and get a breathtaking view of, well, El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez in the winter. A woman near me in the race stopped nearby and said, isn't it beautiful? I looked to see if she was kidding, and she was not. I said, meh, and she looked stunned and a little hurt. You don't think it's beautiful? I started laughing, part of of actual amusement, and part out of hysterical fatigue.
No, no. I don't think it's beautiful. Come to Albuquerque. I'll show you beautiful views.
Throughout the race i was surrounded by members of the Juarez running club. One of them jogged backwards and offered me Gummy bear? They are very good. I took one, out of politeness.
It was very good.
I finished and was asked about the race, ostensibly by one of the race directors, and I told him this race was harder than any half I'd done including Bandera, Devil Mountain, and the Jemez heavy half. He was all, woo-woo! And wanted to do a fist bump.
Map, splits and elevation profile are here.
But here is why I did it, as a slave I am to my contingencies: the medal.
As one of the organizers said, this a race for grown ups. You've been warned.
What you get: serious badass creds. Climbing practice. Friendly aid stations and enthusiastic volunteers. A very, very cool medal that I'm trying planning to put on display.
What you won't get: running, or breathtaking views.
Recommended: highly. At least once.