The First 100 Miles | 100.32 Miles

A narrow gauge railroad axle lies in a creek by the trail.

An artifact on the trail at Babcock State Park – I believe it’s a narrow gauge railroad axle.

Last week I passed the 100 mile mark in my effort to run 1200 miles, on trail, by the end of 2013. It felt like the right time assess this 1200 mile trail running monkey I’ve put on my back.

When I first cooked up this idea I figured if I ran 100 miles each month it would be pretty easy to cover 1200 in a year. I guess I missed a key aspect – I would have to run 100 miles every month. Oh, and I was going to have to do that



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Did I think this through? Right about now you may be realizing that my choosing a career path in design, and not, say, structural engineering is perhaps my biggest gift to humanity. Not because I’m the worlds best designer. No, it just means that a lot less buildings are likely to collapse.

Sorry, back to this 100 miles a month issue. There are folks out their running nearly that amount in a week, but they’ve transcended to a level in the sport I’ve not yet reached. These are the ultra marathoners. ULTRA marathoners.

So, it was February 20th and instead of closing in on my first 200 miles I was wrapping up my first 100. I was still enjoying the process and didn’t feel like a slave to my own goal, but it was clear that I was going to have to up my trail running mileage to achieve it.

After mulling it over – yep, while trail running – I figured that maybe what I needed was a more immediate and easily attainable goal. Why not a race? Lucky for me the first, and only race I’ve run to date takes place in April. It’s the Gristmill Grinder, a great local half marathon trail run that wanders through Babcock State Park here in Fayette County, West Virginia. It’s an awe inspiring run through rhododendron tunnels and along cliff edges with amazing views. It even passes one of our iconic landmarks, the historic Glade Creek Gristmill which surely has graced every flavor of tourist chachkis – calendars, shot glasses, fridge magnets, you name it. Who can blame anyone, it’s beautiful. Check out this shot by my friend Gary Hartley.

The sense of urgency to be ready for this run, added with the natural desire to want to beat my time from last year, has definitely put some wind back into my sails. Time to stop taking the easy way out with my 5 to 6 mile play days and get my run on.

If you’re interested in the Gristmill Grinder, a great WV have marathon trail run,  you can find out more at there website or here on Facebook. It really is a great race that gives you the full experience of the New River Gorge’s inspiring terrain.

1,099.68 Miles to go!