This afternoon I am headed down to South Carolina for the Laurel Valley 35 mile trail run. This is a unique race in that it is totally self-supported. Each runner must carry everything he/she will need and get water from the many water sources along the way. As such, a certain amount of strategy must be employed as you decide what to carry. I am going with a "packing light" strategy and will carry just enough gels, pretzels and S! Caps to get me through about 8 hours. I also will go with two handhelds and a smaller bottle, using iodine to treat the water. This race is a very low-key event, known for the incredible scenery along the way including suspension bridges and waterfalls.
Mason, John and I are headed down together today. John and I plan to run most of the race together. Mason is going for the win so we will likely come in about 2 hours after him. The temperature has been very warm this week (Charlotte topped out at 104 yesterday - the hottest ever) but it is supposed to cool down (to the upper 90s) tomorrow. As with all of my ultra races, I am looking to have a fun day with friends on the trail and enjoy the scenery. I plan to use this race as a long training run for the GEER 100K (my focus race for the fall), which is a little over a month away.
Hopefully, all will go well with the race and perhaps we will get a bit of respite from the heat. Then again, it IS August and it IS South Carolina. When you look at the list of those who have run this race, the list includes a number of well-known veteran ultrarunners throughout the Southeast. I am certain there will be many points of suffering in the searing heat tomorrow, but at least I will be in good company. A few pictures of the course have been included and I will post a report next week.