Running up and down Mt. Benson was the absolute staple of my running diet in 2012. I managed to tag the summit 74 times during the year, sometimes multiple times in one day. I attribute a great deal of my running success in 2012 to the training challenge it provided. Steep climbs, technical descents, and all manners of conditions from bone dry dirt to flowing waters, snow, and ice were found on the mountain.
Spending over 100 hours on it, the vast majority without seeing another soul, I felt I got to know the landscape in an intimate way not likely experienced by many others. I knew every rock and root. I knew every time a new tree blew down, or a rock was removed from its place. I saw the seasons change. I knew the good and the bad. Sure I had plenty of summertime runs that were bliss from the first step, and got to see dozens of incredible vistas, sunrises, and sunsets. But I also had plenty of runs in the cold, rain, dark, and snow with no promise of a view. Headlamps, frozen feet, treachery underfoot.
Just as with life, I think the most challenging outings made the heavenly ones that much more rewarding. The first warm spring breeze of the season was surely that much more meaningful after of dozens of rainy outings by headlamp.