It’s always held the same weekend of the JFK 50 Miler. We’re not fans of the JFK..for various reasons. I have several. Too many miles on the towpath (26.2 I think) and then I think, another 10 on roads. The only part that was interesting to me at all was the first part on the Appalchian Trail. Then there is the whole entry fee/ race director salary. But I digress. Suffice to say, I never thought about entering the JFK.
But around this time of year, in ultra running, it’s “Slim Pickins” if you eschew the JFK. Get it???
I got over to Linn Run State Park, about 1030 am. I left a careful itenary on where I was running (since I was alone). I started up the “Quarry Trail” then absent-mindedly ended up on the Grove Run Trail. Ooops. So much for my trail itenary!
I ended back up on my original trail, the Quarry Trail. It then seemed to change into the “Powdermill Trail” since I saw signs about it on trees. It led me to a dirt road triangle..with nothing marked, no blazes, and no signs. I chose the lower jeep road.
This dumped me out right along the PA Turnpike. OK! This was good. The PA Turnpike runs east-west. I squinted at the sun. It was 12.37 pm. So I should go east. I should pick up the Laurel Highlands Trail (which runs north-south) eventually.
If I was wrong, I should end up in Donegal, Pa. I had 40 bucks and a charge cell phone in my pack. I would think someone would give me a ride to my cabin (about twelve miles away) for twenty dollars.
But this trail led to an actual sign, and I was confused about where I was. So I chose a direction.
And ran into fellow NEO Trail member, Bruce! I told him of my confusion. We ran back the same I had come, and took a different trail. This dumped us on Fish Run Trail, which would lead us back to the cabin. At this point we ran into club President Bob Combs.
Bob chooses to run around and run back with us. I’ve had a good day of running. I’ve gotten 15.38 miles for my troubles.
We have this awesome cabin at Linn Run State Park. Fireplace, stove, frig, bedrooms. We get the fire started, and start breaking out food. We’re relaxing, and a fourth club member, Rich, arrives shortly after dinner.
We have a few drinks, and pretty much decide to go to bed. It’s 9 PM! I get into my bunk (I have the ‘girls room’) solo bunk bed. I hear Rich and Bob talking about how nice it is outside, with the full moon. I am still wired also, so I go out and ask them how far we are running. In short time, we’re garbed up and outside in the cool icy night, starting up a hillside in the dark.
It was great. We would hit some un-rocky ground where we could turn off the lights, and just run/hike in the dark. Awesome six miles on the trail.
We got up early the next morning to run some more. Slim and Cam were joining us. These were my running buds from the Ring. It was cool that Cam (and Jim) hung with my running pace, which is not up to par with these guys yet.
I got to have some great chats with both Bob and Jim. Have I mentioned how much I love and respect these guys? They believe in me so much, tell me I can accomplish my goals and are so generous with their advice and admonishments. They’ve been a huge part of my growth as an ultra runner (and person!)
We got in somewhere around 28’ish miles. (The Garmin died on me). So I got 20+ miles on Friday, with the night run, and 28’ish on Saturday. I got good advice on plans for future runs and races. I got feedback on my training. I got to hear hilarious stories about past runs and racers. I got to share trail and face time with friends-priceless!