Blog Subtitle

Reverse-engineering the Ultramarathon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Laurel Highlands Ultra

Journey's End

The northern end of Laurel Ridge, as seen from Scalp Ave. in Johnstown, PA.
The Conemaugh Gap is visible on the right.
The Conemaugh Gap.
(Photo credit - Google Maps)
It was just as I'd always pictured it. I mean exactly as I'd always pictured it. So rarely do you spend years imagining a thing, visualizing it, daydreaming it, and then have the reality turn out so much like what the mind's eye had been able to conjure.

I had known it was coming for at least two miles. The sound of a long train slowly wending its way through the deep, narrow chasm known as the Conemaugh Gap carries far at night through still, humid, early-summer air - and there are two rail lines through there, one on each side of the river, terraced into the steep flanks of the gorge, along with (on the north side) Cramer Pike and (on the south side) Haws Pike, carrying car traffic.

For at least two miles I had heard the low rumble off and on and had told myself excitedly, "That must be train traffic going through the Gap!" Soon I would be there. Soon I would see.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Enjoying the Journey - 2016 (part 2)

Pennsylvania's state flower - and the source of Laurel Ridge's name.
Seven years.

I've not been writing "Enjoying the Journey" posts that long, but I've been on the journey that long. It was seven years ago (maybe even this month) that I devoured "Born to Run" while on vacation at my parents' home near Johnstown, PA. I was enthralled by the idea of running unheard-of distances on rugged trails in beautiful places! I'd been working on my health and fitness for a couple of years and I was looking for something to serve as a challenge and a source of goals and motivation, and I knew immediately that I had found it.