After my amazing pacer agreed to run an extra training run with me the day after her 50k, disaster struck and we had to postpone a day. Luckily the super secret spy was able to help out so that I could get the training in.
After only a few hours of sleep I found myself arriving uncharacteristically early to our meeting spot. Although I still didn't look like I was ready to tackle the big climbs to come. My coffee wouldn't kick in until later.
After we carpooled to our starting spot at Veach Gap we wasted no time hitting the trail and introducing me to a new section of the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 course. The climb went on and on and on and on.
Maybe the view was worth it but I still wasn't feeling it.
We indulged in micro-breaks to snap shots of flowers and enjoy the trail.
Even though it rained and drizzled the majority of our run I quickly realized that I had over dressed.
But thanks to the cooling rains we had enough energy to goof around a bit once we hit the ridge line.
Between the lichen covered forest...
and the amazing rock formations. I was quickly starting to enjoy being back on the trails.
We even indulged in a little goofing off and took photos hiding in trail legend Gary K's spot. Hopefully he will be hiding there race day and give me a big adrenaline indulging scare.
I felt like I was able to let go of the concern I had been feeling ever since the terrible experience at Bull Run. I was able to enjoy just being in the woods, taking in whatever crossed our path and being happy to be doing it.
After about 11 miles we hit a short gravel road section. Diane and I were both fueling and hydrating well with the supplies we were carrying. We made great time getting through the little rural residential stretch.
We enjoyed a heavier rain while out in the open on the road but were both eager to return to the trails long before we arrived at the yellow blazes.
One of my favorite sections was finally getting to do the climb up Harbron Gap. This will be somewhere around 55ish miles of the actual race course but today I felt filled with energy and the climb only increased my confidence about being able to tackle it after those long miles.
The final section was an amazing generally down hill run on zig-zagging trails. We paused only briefly to snap flower photos and to allow our only trail company of the day, 8 mountain bikers, to pass. Before I knew it we could see through the trees the parking area where we had meet hours earlier. I was so grateful for being able to get out and completely change how I am feeling about tackling my first 100 mile race. Something I knew that I won't have accomplished alone.