This will be really quick. You know why? Because I just had about an 800 hundred word post on WordPress about hurt, pain, suffering, regret, determination, confidence, bravery, exhaustion, compassion, love, friendship, peacefulness, challenges, sharing, no nonsense, fear, cold, warm, understanding, happiness, sadness, ruthlessness, senseless, laziness, bitter sweetness, thoughtfulness, toughness, patience, grittiness, selflessness, embarrassment, strength, couragouesness, anger, exhlilaration(what am I missing ultrarunners??) about my day at the Laurel Highlands Trail. What, you think I’m joking? Guess again.
Real quick catch up. I ran the 50K. It was a nice trail, the 50K anyway: well marked, runnable, with some rocks throughout, elevation gain exceeding 5,800 ft, and popular. It has history, 36 years of it. The LHT is 70 miles long, running north/south near Johnstown, PA. It’s a popular race around the region and has respect throughout the region.
Let’s cut to the chase. I had a tough time through the heat and humidity and the mountains. In my post I lost, it said how much of a wuss I was in humidity and mountains. Boohoo. I lost lots of fluids throughout, with 2 climbs the first 6 miles. Ringing wet sweating. Waaah.
I eventually finished after traversing the nice, scenic, well organized 50K(31 mile route).
My trail running buddies(in escense, they all are) did the following this weekend:
Ashleigh finished the 50K in more than 9 hours. She wanted to quit at mile 19. Swollen ankle. Exhausted. She showed me something that I had only heard of before….After going back to the hotel to shower, then ate, Ashleigh met up with her friend Dominic to complete his 70 miles. On a swollen ankle. I know I promised this would be real quick, but how can you explain that. Limping and tired, Ashleigh leaves mile 58 at 10 pm at night after completing a 50k that she almost quit out of in the morning, to help her friend complete his race? He finished at 2:30 am by the way. It’s grit and a focus, and nothing else.
Donald attempted his 8th LH 70 mile race and then they stopped him at mile 22 for not going fast enough. He has years of trail running races completed and is one of my running mentors. Listen locals, he’s completed hundreds of races and ultras. Any running local should commend his achievements.
Kristen was part of the relay. She started the relay at the start, then continued on throughout the whole course throughout the day. All 70.5 miles as well. I was told she was a strong runner. I’m glad I witnessed the mile 58 aid station when she was really strong.
Ethan is a new trail runner(wish I was again) who completed his miles on the LHT. I think it was his toughest run to date, but not sure?! I bet he had fun.
Anne is a great trail runner who paced Kristen the last 12 miles on the LHT. She only completed last years’ Oil Creek 100 Miler. She’s firm as steel. You can’t bend her.
Sovanna is a recreational trail runner who fought through falling/injuring his knee to complete his portion. He is Kristen’s husband and they have a son, E, who is really cool!
John is a good trail runner/hiker and Anne’s husband who completed his portion right before midnight. I wish I had his hiking skills and aeration skills.
Linda paced her friend Katie through the last 25 or so miles in the same darkness as everyone else. Katie completed the 70.5 miler. Linda has a 50K under her belt, but it was the first time she had to run in dark, single track trail at 2 am at night.
It sure was another learning, humbling, experience. For me, running evolved on the roads. My first 10 years were almost primarily on roads. I have learned so much on the trails. I can honestly say I have a trail running family now. They are the ones who can truly feel hurt, pain, suffering, regret, determination, confidence, bravery, exhaustion, compassion, love, friendship, peacefulness, challenges, sharing, no nonsense, fear, cold, warm, understanding, happiness, sadness, ruthlessness, senseless, laziness, bitter sweetness, thoughtfulness, toughness, patience, grittiness, selflessness, embarrassment, strength, couragouesness, anger, and exhlilaration.