AM- Decided to run the FHT Heartbreak Bench marathon today, an unofficial challenge that runs along the FHT from Rocky Bottom into Laurel Valley, passing several large waterfalls and turning around at a very random bench on the middle of a steep hill. It was a nice morning with cool, 60 deg temps. Somehow left my garmin at home, so just had my timex watch with no distance. I went out fairly easy and enjoyed myself, not seeing a single person until the very end and noticing even the spiders (and their webs) were fewer in number than usual. The long, 5-mile downhill was relaxing, followed by a good climb and descent past Jocassee, then the abrupt stairs up and then down to the bench. I always forget how far down it is to the bench, so I actually turned around a few times thinking I had missed it. It eventually appeared at 2:08 (the exact time as when I ran Laurel Valley 35 mile race last August). Rested for one minute, then started back. I started feeling really good at about 2.5 hrs and ran well on the climb up, even running steeper hills and stairs than I normally would. The last few miles were a bit slower as the temps heated up and I realized the 4 hr mark was out of reach. Finished in 4:13:29, so a negative split by 3 minutes- pretty good considering it's net 500 ft uphill on the return trip. I think 4 hrs is doable but wouldn't be easy. As it is, my time is the FKT, besting Justin's 4:48 last April. 5250 ft climbing, 25 miles. Took 120 oz water, drank just over 100. Finished with a nice leg soak in a surprisingly cold river. Nice way to spend a Saturday morning.
Elevation profile courtesy of Justin's garmin from April.