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  • Torey Lee Brooks

2021 Running & Climbing Season Recap

Updated: May 16, 2022

It's the end of my first real season of trail running, as well as the finish of another season of climbing so here's a little recap of what the past warmer months had in store.


I started into the spring knowing I wanted to build my base in trail running, but also wanting to be very careful about how fast I added this (relatively) new type of load to my body. Luckily, with many trails to trace and 4,000 footers to tag as part of my goals, I had lots of chances to get slow and steady miles under my feet. I soon learned the importance of a proper fueling strategy after my first few bonks (giving up on my ability to get down gels) and found the value of Tailwind mix, applesauce packets, and carrying around a Catadyn filter bottle on longer runs to get water along the way.

About halfway through the summer, I decided that my hopes to run to work may not be a good plan for my body after the daily pavement pounding gave me a mild case of shin splints. So I transitioned to getting pretty much all of my miles in on the trails. Quite honestly, that was fine by me, as I really started seeing my after-work runs on local trails as a time to mentally reset, as opposed to dodging cars and other pedestrians. I even pushed myself on a few local FKT's (most of which entailed running up and down the same mountain in a bunch of different ways).

As we started to turn the corner to fall I had a few running events I had signed up for. First came the Kismet Cliff Run, a rather vertical heavy and technical half marathon that benefits one of the non-profits I support through my 5.12 goal. This race was also fun because it entails running up and over Cathedral and White Horse, two climbing destinations I frequent. I was lucky enough to run Kismet with a good friend and truly had a blast and we both managed to finish the race within our goal times.

The second event came a few weeks later- Bubbas Backyard Ultra. At this point, I hadn't yet run more than 20 miles in one day, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. In a way I think that was kind of the beauty of that event for me- no expectations, just pushing myself to see what my body could do. I think the caption of this Instagram post really encompasses this best so please give it a read. I was able to complete 49 miles and 14 hours of running, far surpassing what I thought these newbie runner legs could do! (I also consumed over a pound of bacon singlehandedly during the event, which deserves its own type of award).

Looking forward to next season's goals I think I see a lot more distance pursuits in my future, though likely in the form of solo adventures in the mountains. Racing was a blast and a great way for me to see what the running community is all about and meet A LOT of amazing friends and running partners, but pushing myself in the mountains without aid stations or race clocks feels slightly more enticing.


The old "flip flop" accent (this is a joke)

The climbing season started off pretty slow but also with a huge win: after years of dealing with a nagging wrist issue that often let me useless in grabbing rock with my left hand, Hilary helped me figure out the issue was nerve related and we began to find solutions to mitigate the pain and range of motion limitation. I can't tell you how exciting this is for me and I can't recommend Hilary enough to help with any of your PT needs.

Once I had my wrist in a much happier place I was able to begin working on my climbing fitness in the gym and start getting outside for some days at Rumney. I began ticking off a good amount of easier lines around whatever crags we ended up and started to get my mind back into climbing shape too. I even got on a 5.12's or two to re-work out some of the moves. Though I didn't get out a whole lot or go for any glory routes, I did rebuild a lot of my confidence and joy on the rock that I had been missing these last few years. I'm really hoping to be able to carry some of this confidence and base into next season. Also, I was happily reminded that rock climbing is, in fact, very fun :)

By the Numbers

  • Running Mileage: 633 miles

  • Running elevation gain: 87,000 ft

  • Outdoor Climbing Days: 12

Notable Season Accomplishments

  • Kismet Trail half marathon: 8th woman overall

  • First Ultramarathon @ Bubbas Backyard Ultra: 49 miles

  • Completed tracing all trails in Southern NH Trail guide for the Seacoast

  • Finished all climbs 5.10 and below at Apacolpypse Wall & Below New Wave @ Rumney


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