Throughout the day, I was able to run with almost everyone who showed up...at different times. I had a great time and great conversation...about trail running, running 100 miles, my career in the Navy, and lots of side conversations that as the rules say, will forever remain on the trails. For me, I feel like the most junior of them all out there. Take "Gombubu" for example: he'll run his 4th Hardrock 100 miler this year....emphasis on HARD. He'll follow that up with 2 more tough 100s this year. I don't know his total number of 100 milers but it's safe to say, he's a veteran ultra-marathoner and 100 miler. (he's also been a sounding board in my training plan/race selection over this past year) Then take the Covered Bridge's "champion", Slim, who just ran a rough, technical, gnarly 70 miler a week ago. He typically ranks at the top of the field when he shows up to an ultra. Then there's Brian who is tackling his first 100 miler this year at MMT and has, I believe, 28 ultras under his belt...one for each year of his life (or so I learned on the trails yesterday!). He's the one in the black shirt on the left. Even Lloyd showed up, a local running coach and race director of the sold-out Fools 50K in 4 weeks. He's the one down the Monkey Hill in the picture. I spent the most time with Lloyd and Brian overall and had a great time.
Unfortunately, my camera had to stay in the trunk of my car until the last 7.5 miles because of the rain but I did manage to get some pics. I've posted about 21 pics here so stop on by to check them out. I'm not a fan of clogging up my blog with a ton of pictures but these did come out pretty darn good. A few of my favorites are below:
One of the many waterfalls as we ran along the lakes all day
At the top of one of the last major climbs in the Monkey Hills is the "Love Log"...a tree so big you've just got to "love" to get over!
Talk about therapeutic...this felt GOOD! After the finish, we were parked right next to the water and a waterfall. With so much ice melting into the water and some sections of the lakes still covered with ice, this water was super cold, but ohhhhh, it felt so good to soak in. I finished off my boiled potatoes and had a banana while sitting here and just enjoying the view and solitude of the park.
The last picture I really want to post is going to remain free from your sight just momentarily. This picture was taken at the request of my mentor/co-worker, Carol, at work. I promised her I'd take it immediately after removing my trail shoes. Two words: "Pedicure, anyone?" (you've been warned!!!)
Yea, it was a great day...a phenomenal day. A day I started with Casting Crowns on my drive out to Youngstown and ended lathered up in shea butter lotion and cucumber cream on my feet. Today, time change Sunday, I was up like a spring chicken right on schedule at 3:45am (really 2:45am if you don't count the time change) and I can hear the steady rain hitting the rooftop. A soaking, relaxing recovery run is in order, I'd say. If all goes to plan, my family will be waking up about the time I'm back and it's time to get moving for church this morning. Another great Sunday to cap off a great weekend.
I was reading my April edition of Runner's World this past week and shockingly, a story about a 100-miler made it in there. I took the liberty of snatching a few quotes from the article that I really like. I think they're a perfect way to end today's post. Enjoy!
"What matters is that together we push ourselves harder than either of us can manage on our own. It works that way when we run, too. We run to suffer, because to suffer is to feel alive."
"Looking up at the stars, an incredible sense of calm settles over me. Reasonable people are in bed, asleep. It's just me and the coyotes and the Milky Way, and I feel completely at home in the universe. A few minutes later we are walking silently, basking in the wonder of the night. When we reach the aid station by Desolation Lake at mile 67, it's like a dream - a campfire and cauldrons of hot chocolate waiting for us in the middle of the wilderness."
Happy Trails, everyone! Make TODAY count!