Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Laurel Highlands Ultra 50K 2014

I’m racing again on Saturday and that’s got my nerves all twisted up in a bunch.  The race is a new distance (50K) and a new format (trail race) and it’s pretty close on the heels of Ironman.  I’m not properly prepared, but I knew that would be the case when I signed up and besides, everyone says shit like that before a race.  The exciting bits are that this is a race I've wanted to run for many years and I’m finally going to do it and I don’t care, not even one bit, about the clock.

The race is the 50K version of the Laurel Highlands Ultra.  For the few of you who were hanging around here last year you will remember that I ran the relay version of this race in 2013 (race report).  I wanted to run the full 50K but I was late to the game and all of the slots were sold out.  This year I made a point to follow the site closely and I was able to score a spot.  I've also gotten the band back together and am doing the first leg of the relay again!

This race matters to me because the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail matters to me!  I grew up hiking LHHT, seriously, like as a 6th or 7th grade kid and I’m on it as often as I can be to this day.  My family and I hiked the trail quite a bit, we camped in the shelters, we partied in the shelters (shhh).  I've hiked the trail as a child, a Boy Scout, an adult, a parent and as a trip leader.  

When I first learned that there was a Laurel Highlands Ultra I knew nothing of trail running or ultra-marathons.  Both of which sounded incredibly cool and equally out of reach.  Like most people my trips on the trail were in the 7 – 12 mile range and overnight trips were defined by the distances between shelters.  The idea that someone could cover 70 (or even 31) miles in a single day was hard to grasp.

A lot has changed in my life since then and the idea of covering 31 miles of the trail sounds like fun, like adventure, like joy.  Although I whine about not being prepared it’s really that I’m not as prepared as I could be.  I have more than enough aerobic fitness and mental toughness to make up for what I’m lacking in leg strength and base miles.  Add to that the fact that my goals are 1) don’t get hurt and 2) finish and I think I’m setting myself up for a great day on my favorite trail.

Saturday can't get here soon enough!


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