Monthly Archives: June 2011

Out for Laurel

Due to the dog’s health, the husband could not handle her alone this weekend, so I do not get to go over to the Laurel Highlands. Good luck to all the runners.

Laurel Highlands Preview

This upcoming weekend is the Laurel Highlands Race– the 77 miler, and the 50K.

It’s usually a 70.5 mile race, point to point, but the bridge over the PA turnpike was removed last year, due to structural isssues, so there is a 6.5  mile detour.  As many of us found out last year, that road section detour was just downright nasty.

But now it’s a known quantity, so if you have run the race in 2010, you should be prepared.

Race start: You will  start in the State Park, where there are restrooms available. You will run down the main street, cross the very active railroad crossing, and then head down a rough road. You will have about 1/4 to 1/2 mile before the LHHT starts up to the left. Just a short little climb, then it will open up a bit where you can pass runners again.
After about the first mile marker, it will settle down into single track and much more difficult to pass, so if you don’t want to get stuck behind slower runners, you might want to get ahead at the start.
A good climb at mile 3, with a great down hill runnable on the back side, another good climb and downhill
Mile 6, where you will see the signs for the shelter, is the beginning of the 1.5 mile climb. This is the big climb of the race. Do not get freaked out here. Lots of people do, they think the entire course is going to be like this. 
Mile Marker 8? Congrats, you’ve made it to top of the big climb. Now you have some nice runnable sections.
AID STATION coming up at mile 11.6.  You better have drained both those water bottles you started the race with.
Stop and admire the rhododendrons and huge boulders when you cross the stream at Mile 15, on the three wooden bridges. Maybe there will still be water flowing this year.

Now you are on your way to your next Aid Station, at Mile 19.3 miles. Right around the mile 18 marker, you will encounter a short, nasty climb up through some boulders. It’s short, but steep. But the AS will be on the top side of this climb.

Now your focus will be getting to the Seven Springs Aid Station. The Aid Station will be right around mile 26, where you come out of the woods to the Seven Springs Ski Resort.
Make sure you wet your hat or bandana down here. You will run across the ski resort, it will all be exposed sunlight and hot. Maybe a 1/2 or 3/4 mile until you run around a lake, then back down hill, and follow the LHHT.
Although Seven Springs is the highest point on the course, beware at mile 28, there is a short, steep hill.
Next Aid Station is mile 32.3.  You will then hear the dreaded words: “Next Aid station is 12 miles”. (Well, 11.7 miles.) This is also where you will encounter the 6.5 mile road section detour.

All I can say is drink up, take all the water you can carry, and hope for a rain storm.
The first section of the road is not bad, it is actually a long gradual downhill. For me, after having cement mile markers each mile for 33+ miles, you now do not have them.
You should know you run down this road (I believe it is Kuhntown Road) until it intersects with West Bakersfield Edie Road. You will see the PA Turnpike on your left, and keep thinking you are getting close, but this road goes on on. There are BIG LHHT detour signs, you will not get lost here.
You turn left onto the Bakersfield Edie  Road. This is an asphalt road of rolling hills. There is la little berm and cars drive fast here, so be alert and running facing traffic like you should.
It seems like forever until you finally see the road over the turnpike. You cross the turnpike, and now you start back up a less travelled, kind of gravelly road-this should be Hickory Flats Road. This is still exposed to the sun.
Eventually you will come to now mile 44 of the race, to the Hickory Flats Aid Station. Be NICE TO THE VOLUNTEERS they did NOT CREATE THIS DETOUR!!!!!!!
You also will have access to your drop bag here.
Then you are back into the blessed woods and trail again.

Right around LHHT mile marker 41, you will see the Beam Rocks, huge rock formations. Take a second to glance around at these, very cool. You also go through some big rock “mazes” around these miles, through some rhododendron shrubs also.

After Route 30, this seems to be when the pre-historic fern forest begins. This ferns are huge and cover the entire trail-you won’t be able to see your feet due to the ferns.lamp
The mountain laurel may still be in bloom-white-as you run through here. If it is at night, the laurel will glow very pretty in your headlamp.
Speaking of headlamp, you may consider the use of a hand held light also. The fog could roll in on you, making it harder to use just one light.

Last year I timed out of the LH Race, made it to the AS at mile 65 or so.  It has been a few years since I have been on the miles 65 to 70.5, so really can’t comment on it, but I do remember it being runnable and the last section is a net downhill.


Classic crash and burn after big race.

Now for the record, I don’t think I over did it with the excercising.

After MMT, I did not run at all until Monday, May 23. I did alot of outside yardwork that weekend after the race. I ran 4 miles that Monday, a little more that week.

Then I worked six days straight over Memorial Day weekend, and that sucked my energy out for sure.

Then the dog had major surgery on Wednesday. She’s not doing that well and I am majorly stressed about that.

I felt fine running on Thursday and Friday, then I didn’t get good sleep with the dog issues Friday night, and woke up with my sore lymph nodes.

Another very poor night of sleep on Saturday, and this morning it hurt to swallow. I decided to invest the time in the UrgiCare rather than wait until my regular doctor’s office opened on Monday to beg and cajole for an appointment.

They ruled out strep and mono. I have an antiobiotic which I hope will resolve the inflamed lymph nodes.

I’m going to take the week off from running, and rest.

Taxing the Immune System

After a poor night sleep, I woke up with a sore throat and a ping pong ball size knot on my neck.I spent the morning spring cleaning my kitchen, then managed to get out for my10K around the block.

I wasn’t feeling the love all that much, as it was already 11 am and getting pretty warm. I did manage to run up more of the hills before turning it into a walk.

I walked the last .4 miles of my10K (my 10K is actually 6.4 miles)  and resolved considering taking Sunday off and resting. It’s hard to do when you have the day off from work, and the time to get a run in.

But these swollen glands  point toward a compromised immune system, and I don’t want to get sick before the Laurel Highlands Race next weekend.

I think next on the agenda is a nap.

Trail Run!

Trail run. Two of my favorite words. I got out this morning, went to Salt Fork. I ran on the blue bridle trail, which I had not been on in a few years. It was very flat and runnable the first few miles. It’s amazing how the trail is aleady bone dry, despite all our rains in May. There were some areas of mud and some of the footing is uneven due to horse hoof ruts, but I likened it to running on rocks.

The trail had markers at every mile, but they did not come anywhere near what my GPS said. I thought my run would be longer, but I cut up a different trail which interesected the blue trail, and I was back to the horseman’s camp in 2 hours for a 7 mile trail run.

Felt really good to be out on the trails again!


I love my 10K route around the block. It’s on back country dirt roads. No traffic. The dogs all know me now.

My dog had surgery yesterday, so there are no long runs out of town this weekend. I was happy to do my 10K around the block. Great weather.

This graphic is courtesy of Eric Grol:

This is his explanation of the graph:

The graphics show what i called “arrival place percentile,” which means what position within the field did you arrive at each aid station.   A high number is good, so Mr. Meltzer would be at 100% for the whole race, since he arrived at each aid station first.  

The X axis is the Aid Station Number. (Or maybe it is the Y…)

I was really tickled by this graphic, since it does show I was steady-steady-steady; then around mile 40, I started picking people off. I then picked up crew and pacer, Jill and Bradley, at Habron, and we really went to town after that.

Okay, I will finally say it, smart pacing on my behalf!!  It was not really intentional, except for that uphill at the beginning where I didn’t see what everyone was all fired up about-and then Short Mountain in the dark, I just wanted to get familiar with the rocks again. Intentional or  not, it WORKED and I am going to finally take credit for it.  Pacing yourself and not getting overheated got me way farther and ultimately faster to the finish line than quite a few runners.