August 22, 2006

Three Days On The Road

Random stuff I learned (and re-learned) while running the Skyline Drive in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park this past weekend, a jaunt I nicknamed the Tour de Skyline:

105 miles in 19:55 is pretty easy to do when you spread it across three days. A Gatorade-sweet tea-Red Bull combo provides a whole lot more fuel than just plain water. The Loft Mountain Wayside’s Big Greasy – what they should call the big-as-your-head sausage and egg biscuit – may be the tastiest breakfast food I have ever put in my mouth.

A pathetic little 800-foot climb seems McKinley-like when you think you’ve already reached the highest point for the day. One of the best reasons for going northbound is that the mile markers descend in order. My thoughts escape the buzz of my pea brain a whole lot more clearly at 5.5 miles per hour. Deer hooves make a distinctive clicking sound when they strike pavement.

You don’t need to eat much at all while on the run when your run distances are 40, 34 and 31 miles because there is plenty of time to refuel later. The hotter I get, the more annoying stupid drivers are. The 7-minute-run/3-minute-walk routine rules.

It sure is great to have friends, such as my dad who helped me with car shuttles and provided beer at the ends of Day 1 and 2, and my buddy Bob Ring who ran all of Day 3 with me. I figured this adventure would be a lot more difficult than it actually was, a testament to even pacing and no desire whatsoever to go fast.

Beer tastes so much colder after a quarter-day of sweating. It’s not every run when I get to look down on a hovering hawk.

I will never again see Shenandoah National Park – from my back yard, on my way to work, on my way home or any other time – without getting a really, really stupid grin.