From left to right - Pat, Jay, Greg, Kevin, & Rich
Earlier in the week it rained quite a bit and temperatures went below freezing at night so we thought that things might be pretty slick today. However, the trail conditions were much better than we had anticipated and we only ran into a couple spots of ice on the trail. The rest of the trail was frozen solid and primarily dry. You did have to watch your footsteps though as there were quite a few leaves covering the trail, except for the sections that have been blown off by NEO Trail member Bruce McMurray.
Early in the run speedsters Jay and Pat pulled ahead of our group and they stayed together for most of the day. Pat was able to finish his first 50K today in just over 6 hours. Congrats Pat! Another great performance to mention is Jim Harris' completion of the 50 mile distance today. He was the only person to finish the entire distance. All of these guys looked strong throughout the day.
Jim and I near the Lanterman's Mill boardwalk
One thing that's nice about this run is being able to change the direction that you're running in order to see everyone out there on the course. It's also fun to yell or practice your NEO Trail turkey call whenever you hear or see someone on the other side of the river. At one point we ran into Bob and a few others at the Covered Bridge and Bob showed us the wound on his hand that he sufferd from a fall before sunrise. He must of hit the ground pretty hard because he said that his chest was a little sore as well, but he was still in pretty good spirits. We had a lot of fun out there today and had a total of 18 runners show up! Great turnout!
My original plan for the day was to do the entire 50 miles, but early in the run I was already beginning to feel the very early stages of an IT Band problem around my left knee. Luckily as a preventative measure I wore my IT Band strap for the entire run and I think this helped to minimize any damage. Since this is a loop course and you pass by your car approx. every 8 miles I figured I would just keep running and see if it got any better or worse. After finishing my 3rd loop (25 miles) I decided that the smart thing for me to do was to call it a day and try to stay healthy for my ultimate goal, which is next year's MMT 100. I was happy though to get in 25 miles today to follow up my 50K at Laurel Highlands three weeks ago.
Afterwards I hung out in the parking lot and enjoyed some post-run refreshments with Bob, Mike, and Jeff, as we waited for the final runners to come in. For final results, click here. Then, once everyone was finished I drove over to the Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard and met Jim, Mike, Kim, and my brother for some chili dogs and fries. We shared our stories from the day and assumed that we were probably talking louder than normal since everyone in the restaurant was staring at us. The annoying tapping sound from my screwed shoes probably didn't make us seem any more civilized either. Oh well... Who said ultra runners were normal?
I will leave you with a few more photos that Greg took during our 3rd loop. They came out pretty nice and really captured the beauty of the day...
Lake Cohasset waterfall
The Steel Bridge
View from atop the Monkey Trail
Me next to Lake Glacier
Me and Greg at the Lily Pond parking lot