I returned to Laurel this June in a much better place than a year ago when I ran it for the first time. I was well-trained, had my nutrition dialed in, had 6 friends running it with me, and 7 friends crewing and pacing. My goal was to improve over last year – when I finished with only 10 minutes to spare before the 22 hour cut off. DFL. I was hoping for a 20 hour finish, but really just wanted to enjoy the day and run happy. I surpassed all expectations – amazing even myself – as I finished a strong, and FUN, race in 18:34 – a PR of over 3 hours. Once again, my whole food Paleo nutrition plan worked perfectly. I ran the first 35 miles on my homemade sweet potato gu and Peter Rabbit Organics fruit pouches. I then switched to eating protein, fat and a few dense carbs at the aid stations with steamed Key West Pink shrimp, chicken sausage, olives and bananas (provided in my cooler by my fabulous crew!). A few Larabars were good in the final miles.
Having friends along the course to run with, friends at the aid stations taking excellent care of me, and a friend to pace me the final 24 miles to the finish made this year’s Laurel Highlands a wonderful, fun experience. Once again, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be a part of the ultrarunning community, to experience the trail magic that happens over 18 hours of running and to have the friends I have – who love this as much as I do.
Enjoy a glimpse into the magnificence that is the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
Here is a slideshow of beautiful trail from the 33rd annual Laurel Highlands Ultra in Pennsylvania. This 70.5 mile trail race was challenging, rocky, gorgeous, technical, rooty, fabulous, ferny, magical, frustrating, rocky, hilly, spectacular, and FUN. I took a few photos on trail – enjoy!