After volunteering at the Burning River 100 Miler yesterday I was ready to hit the trails as soon as I got out of bed today. So, I decided to drive back to where the action was last night at the Happy Days Visitor Center and start my run at about 4pm or so. When I got there I figured I might as well take advantage of the BR100 course markings while they're still up, so I crossed over Rt. 303 and headed towards the ledges. I had a great time running alone and imagining what it would have been like to run this section in the dark after already doing 65 miles. The thought of a 100 mile race and the adventure that comes along with it intrigues me, but I am still not sure if I want to enter one yet. This November I may run my first 70 miler on the Laurel Highlands trail in PA with members of the NEO Trail Club, which would be a step up from my longest race of 50 miles (which was also in the winter), but we'll see.
As I continued running on the trails around the ledges I noticed that it was beginning to rain, which didn't really bother me since we have had such little rain this summer. As I looked around, I was amazed at how well the race committee for the BR100 had marked the course. Orange streamers hung from clothes pins that had a strip of reflective tape on each pin. There were arrows on the ground that were drawn heavy with lime in case of rain. And there were pie pans with arrows on them that were attached to stakes at each major turn. Great job guys!
Now the rain was starting to pick up in intensity and got heavier and heavier until it was an all out downpour. I was having a great time getting soaked and it brought back memories of my high school & college XC meets that were run in heavy rain and mud. Then the run really started to feel like a high school meet when all of a sudden I looked over to a trail on my left that ran parallel to the short stretch of road that I was on and saw a couple high school runners flying past some trees with their shirts off . Not knowing how long they would be running alongside of me I picked up the pace and eventually saw that the trail they were on would be crossing over the road that I was on. This trail was also where I was going to be headed since I noticed a pie pan ahead with an arrow telling me to turn right. As I met up with the high school runners I told them how I was trying to take advantage of the BR100 markers still being up and tried to strike up a conversation with them. All I heard was the one kid say "Yeah" and then "Have a good run". Boy, what a conversation... For some reason this fired me up and I picked up the pace even more to stay a close distance behind them. I continued this for about a mile when the one kid glanced back and was surprised to see that I was still running with them. Unfortunately as they turned left at a crossroads in the trail, the BR100 markers told me to turn right. So, my game of cat and mouse was now over and I was on my way back to the car to finish up about 6.5 miles. It was fun while it lasted though!