My partner and I initially intended to attempt a 28-mile FKT further upstate today, but due to unpredictable weather and conditions, as well as some anxiety as to how my training has been going lately, we decided the night before to change our plans to attempt Anthony’s Nose FKT instead. (We actually set out to attempt 3 shorter FKTs. The first ended it a laughable DNF around 5km and the third could technically be considered a DNS due to massive blisters that set in over the course of this run.) I knew this 9-mile run would likely be the longest 9-mile run I would have completed time-wise, but I also felt very confident that I could finish - even if it took me quite a bit longer than the legend himself (beastly time, by the way, Ben Nephew).
I’m not used to running in the mountains as I am from the great flat state of Texas. I’m sure some locals trail and ultrarunners would only consider Hudson’s Highlands to be “hills”, but nevertheless Anthony’s Nose felt like a washing machine of East Coast rock to these Texas legs. Coming off of not-so-fresh legs from another FKT attempt (and failure) that morning, I felt like I was starting Anthony’s Nose a bit behind already but wanted to start it to see what would happen anyways. The first half leading up to the turn around point on the Appalachian Trail went well, albeit there was a LOT of power-hiking. Considering that the majority of the climbing happens in the first half of this run, I know I should keep the front half relaxed so as to not blow my legs up entirely. The section along the AT was my absolute favorite, as the vibrant juxtaposition between deep green moss and blinding white snow reinvigorated my legs and my spirits. With a sweet cookie-lunch break on a rock at the turn around point and 1,000ft+ of descent over the remaining 4.5 miles lying in front of me, we started retracing our steps back to the trailhead.
I quickly realized that despite my foolish attempts, my legs were in fact absolutely shredded and I am sure I looked ridiculous gingerly crawling up, down, and over rocks that anyone else would have likely flown over. With around a mile left, I realized with the help of Beyoncé and Jay-Z that I could likely come under 4 hours and 30 minutes if I picked up the shuffling pace just a little bit. I attempted to do just that, while at the same time trying to keep my knee caps from utterly popping off. The views of the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Highlands are stunning. The mapped route is easy on the mind (though not quite so forgiving on the legs) as the look-out over Bear Mountain Bridge divides the run up into quarters very nicely. This trail is just plain fun.