2011-11-04 / 16:21 /

I think it was during the Rachel Carson that I first heard about the Megatransect. Hiking buddy Mark sent me a reminder email as soon as registration opens and I managed to register before it sold out (which was only 48 hours after registration opened).

BEFORE Mark and Kelan registered too.

I rented a car and drove out to Lock Haven after work. I picked up my registration packet and went to get some dinner. A phone call from Kelan confirmed that he had made it from Philly and that Mark had almost made it before getting lost. Mark eventually made it, heading straight to the hotel (I camped).

The next morning was a drizzly 40 degrees. The rain was supposed to start at noon.

The first three miles were asphalt. I walked the first mile with Mark then jogged ahead for a bit before setting into a fast hike. I should have started faster as I got stuck in lines as soon as we hit the single track. The crowds were thick all the way to the boulders.

Everyone had been talking about the boulders and they didn’t disappoint. It was a steep section and much longer than I expected. The advantage is that the “trail” was much wider and I could get past the bolus.

The next trail section was “Rattlesnake Ridge”, which had less rattlesnakes and more slippery wet rocks.

After the rest stop I ended up jogging beside British Bob, an experienced local runner in a Union Jack jersey. He was wearing the same Innov8 shoes I was; we both loved them. He warned me repeatedly about The Goat Path.

Bob got ahead of me while I got more gatorade at the next rest stop. The trail lead up a small fireroad to a turnoff with a wooden sign stamped “The Goat Path”. I had a good pace and passed Bob at the base of the climb. “You’ll understand why I’ve got this slow pace.” he told me.

I did: the goat Path is a steep hill that doesn’t end.

AFTER There was a lot of downhill & pleasant flat before the next boulder section. Summary: wet boulders are a terrible, terrible thing.

It was literally all downhill from there. On the last leg I ran beside Francesca, another Pittsburgher. She was in pain from her move to minimalist shoes, I had pain-killers; we were a good team. We paced out of the dirt and onto the asphalt section. “Almost there” she said “all that’s left is the green mile.” “The green mile?” “It’s a 1 mile through thick grass.”

That sounds fun. Her feet hurt and she fell behind. I felt a little guilty since she had finished in 6 hours the year before and should have been drinking a finish line beer while I was still sweating it out on the course. But I didn’t feel guilty enough to wait. I turned off the road and down the grassy slope.

I lost my footing on the off camber hill. The rest of the grass was an unending, annoying slog. The only thing that made it possible was the nice gentlemen who ran 3-feet ahead of me the entire way.

Then it was only half a mile of foot-painful asphalt and the best sprint I could muster for the finish.

My initial guess of a 7:30 finish time was pretty good; I came in at #160 (7:23) (results).

I cleaned up, ate and found Kelan hanging out by the fire. He had sprained his ankle a few weeks before the run and had set himself the modest goal of 5 and a half hours. A wet rock derailed him and he had to “settle” for 6:16. We ate about 3 plates of BBQ and waited for Mark.

Spoils Mark showed up and we forced him to eat something before the cold set in (the rain did start at noon and only increased). Then we hung around for a bit before heading into the parking lot turned mud pit. For the next 15 minutes we formed a powerful team of three, pushing sedans out of sloppy tire ruts.

Then we all went home.

Would I do it again? Maybe, but I’d probably do the Hyner before that.