Running on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a favorite training grounds for Neo Trail Club in any season. We’ve done variations on it; running the whole distance, segments, out and backs.
Our favorite is the Ohiopyle 50K, or “Gate to 8 x 2”. Run out to mile marker 8, back to town, to “zero”, and then another lap. This is the most hilly part of the LH trail, some good elevation for flat land Buckeyes to train on.
This was a low key effort on Sunday; only Slim and I were running it.
I took NO PICTURES. Did the run really happen?
Slim can attest that we were there. I forgot my wee camera, and didn’t feel like taking the phone, as bad weather was in the forecast. Slim and I were staying together, so there was that safety factor.
Safety factor point: Now that I am wearing my UD hydration pack for any long runs, I have tucked my waterproof matches, twenty dollar bill (in a baggie), safety whistle into the pack where it will stay. I need to add a garbage bag, and just keep my tiny Fenix light in there also.
Never fear, I have stock photos of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail!
It was much warmer than anticipated when we finally got on trail about 730am, about 34 degrees F. Slim, who had run some miles Saturday night, had warned me about the trail conditions, a mixture of ice, snow, mud.
My first 16 miles were the harder ones. I had a headache to start, I believe it was more sinus pressure related, with the impending storm front. I had not thought about the trail being in less than stellar shape, so we were travelling slower than I anticipated.
Usually I love to bound down the mile 3 and 5 hills. It was harder to move downhill than uphill with the snow. Even with screwed shoes, you had to be careful with the ice on the downhills. I found myself “braking” with my legs far more than I like to.
We made the turn at mile 8, and it was a pleasant surprise that the bad weather had not started yet. We did get hit with a little hail, frozen rain, but not enough to even don the rain jackets.
The sun even made a surprise appearance when we arrived back at the vehicles for a quick aid station stop. Then it was back on trail for second lap.
It was just a nice low key effort on the trail. I picked up my hiking poles for the second lap, and that really helped with stability. My caffeine and Tylenol kicked in, and I felt better on the second lap. I felt warmed up on the trail.
We made the mile 8 turn and still had not gotten into the bad weather! We had a bit of rain/hail start on us, but it subsided. Since I had thought from early morning that the second loop was going to be in miserable cold wet rain, this was a great surprise.
Cold, calm, quiet day on trail. I was well pleased with my effort and how my legs felt. I could feel my quads as we stepped to the Gate, but they felt less tanked than I remembered from previous Gate28x2 efforts.
Thanks Slim for sharing trail time with me! A good day on trail for HR training.