This self supported marathon begins in the Laurel Valley Parking Lot off HWY 178. Head West on The Foothills Trail towards Lake Jocassee. Around 13 miles in touch the bench on top of Heart Break Ridge at Lake Jocassee and return back to the parking lot.
Start and stop your timer on the first wooden step heading into Laurel Valley.
You will know when you reach the turnaround! About six series of steep steps will take you to the top of Heartbreak Ridge as you see beautiful Lake Jocassee off to your left. Follow the trail about 100 yards down the stairs and you will see the bench on your right - touch it and retrace your steps back.
There are no "bail out" points on this course such as roads or neighborhoods it is very isolated wilderness.
My goal was to break 4 hours this being a BIG goal but I was sure I could do it. I talked to my friend Bo about it earlier in the week, but he was the only one that knew my goal. There were other’s that knew what I was doing, but not what my planed time was.
I say this is an empty victory not based on the fact that I did not break 4 hours. I did set the new CR (course record). This is an empty feeling because of other reasons. There are things that reflecting back on this run I am finding out about myself. For 4 hours and 5 minutes I was in pain, calculating every step I took, staring at my pace time. When I say every step I mean every step. The leaves covered the trail and there are over 1500 steps in this section that you go over twice. (there are in FACT 3,097 steps in the point to point LV section I took a clicker once and clicked everyone and I still have it). I did not get to take in all the beauty that this trail holds. I did not get to enjoy time with friends. It brought no joy when I was done. In fact it brought more frustration when I got home spending time trying to get my Garmin data to link thanks to using a new watch to track my time.
I thought that going out there and doing what I did would bring me some satisfaction in the fact that I DNF the 77 miler I tried earlier in the year. Maybe that proving that I could go all out on this run I could prove something to myself. I have a real love hate mostly HATE when it comes to that place and this day was no different. It has to do with a lot more than just the DNF that I have. It is a lot deeper and WAY more personal that only few people know about. I have been looking at things in the wrong way. That maybe if I push some of these old goals that maybe I could put part of the past “In the past” but it has just brought me more pain.
It is not arrogance that brings these feelings. I have sat on it for the past few days. It is the fact that I now know that yes I can run hard if need be BUT what is the need for it? A time? To some it is there goal. To me running is not a lone activity. That is “the runner and how hard they can push their body” to me it is a gathering of like minded friends. Time that you can spend with one another enjoying nature and each other’s company. I can’t say that the little bit VERY LITTLE BIT of competitiveness that is in me will not come out again, but at what price? Is it better to have a fast time and miss out on the beauty that is there for you to enjoy or slow down a bit and take in what the world had to offer?
I am truly happy that I was able to finish this run with such a good time. It is not all negativity that has come from it. I know that my body has recovered from what happened earlier in the year. I know that trying to “tare that trail up” is not going to put any old memories to rest. I know that to me running means more to me when I can spend it with friends.
I am still relatively new to the sport of running and Ultra runs. I still have a lot to learn about what kind of runner I am and what I want to do with it. As a friend once said "when I learn how to run with my head and not just my body then I will truly find my place”.
|1||11/23/2012||Joe Parker||28||4:05:03 ***Course Record***|