Laurel Highlands-Twelve Days Out!!

I decided on the Laurel Highlands Race not too long after our annual club run on trail, last fall. Of course, at that time, it was the traditional 70.5 miles, which is the entire length of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The unexpected twist (and extra mileage) occurred in December, where the bridge that crosses the PA turnpike was deemed unsafe and closed. I believe the bridge has since been removed.(Note: I ran across it and it seemed to hold my weight.)

Reviewing the aid stations for the race, I re

The LH trail has some very good climbs, and much of the footing is pretty technical-rocky. The LH trail is permanently blazed with yellow blazes-even over blazed. You can see one or possible two or three while on this trail-eliminating the lost factor!

alize I’ve had it pretty easy with runs/races in the past. Aid Stations have been generally 4-5 miles apart. For the Laurel Highlands Ult

The Race Director has since found a detour,which adds about 7 miles to the race. He’s also extended the time limit to 24 hours for the race.

ra, the aid stations are around 6 miles apart, with two spots where the aid stations are 11.7 and 12 miles about.

Prepping for this, I’ve been 1) losing weight so 2) I can carry more weight on my back-aka in the form of water. My hydration vest has a reservoir of a 2 liter capacity. I do not fill it up all the way! Two liters of water weighs 4.4 lbs, which is a little too much on my back! I usually fill it to about the one liter mark. I will also, at the start of the race, carry one hand-held water bottle for extra hydration. I can also dip this into a stream if needed. No, it is not a good idea to drink from streams, but sometimes you get a little desperate. Michelle just posted on FB about having to call EMS on the LH Trail on Sunday for a dehyrdated hiker.

My nutrition is going to consist of mainly Hammer gels and some Clif Blockshots. I will eat off the aid station tables. Drop bags are only at two stations: miles 44 and 64. I will stash some tasty treat that I will forget about and then be delighted to discover.

I will also have spare clothing at the drop bags. Having a dry bra and shirt could come in handy IF it becomes colder in the late afternoon and evening. Although it will be a hot and humid day (most likely) we will be at a higher elevation and it may be colder. Or it may not be. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to have extra clothing.

I will also have some music stashed out there. Music is a good carrot for me, especially as something to look forward to down the trail. As this is a point to point run, you won’t be seeing runners coming back toward you. And after the sun goes down, sometimes it’s good to have music as a treat. I always develop a new playlist for a race. The playlist will have some songs I always listen to, and I like to find new songs-new blood-for a new race. I also like to listen to what I call “comfort songs” usually songs from my childhood.

There will be several factors to contribute to a successful Laurel Highlands finish: managing food and hydration, managing the weather, and most of all, relentless forward motion!

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