I had never done Lansford, but based on location and Â time of year, I knew it had to be fairly flat & fast. I had 2 goals - to
finish in under 6 hours and Â to not be lapped. I'm pleased to say I succeeded in both! Since I was at the back of the pack, I can't
tell you what happened up front with the fast runners, but here's my random Â thoughts as I ran the 7 loops:
Out and Back plus Loop 1:
Ah, what a crisp glorious day! It's a little chilly, but really perfect running weather.Â Claude sounds the start in typical RFH
fashion and Â every deer in Chester County heads for quieter climes.Â The other runners are off like a shot and Â I settle into my
official TEAM SLUG pace.Â The beautiful course stretches out in front of me like the promise of a new day.Â Not too bad as far
as hills go, just the 2 at the beginning.Â Finishing up the first loop I hit the section of trail on the canal now - this is gorgeous! So
much to look at, I'm glad the trail is fairly level & wide. Only a couple of stairs here and there. This is gonna be an awesome
run - Life is good!
Settling into the run now - see a few hunters wandering around. I catch aÂ glimpse of Alex up ahead every now & then, he's
pretty easy to spot in his ;hunter orange; vest. Â Hmmm....... I think I'll take my white cotton gloves off - wouldn't want the flash of
white to be mistaken for a whitetail deer! The trail section is even better this time - I pick up even a few more details of the
canal.Â The rushing sounds of the river are very soothing. Â I head to the picnic shelter & admire Claude & Martha for
staying out in the elements to provide the aid station - it's really chilly! Time to grab aÂ few cheddar goldfish (my absolute
favorites!) & start back around again.
Still feeling pretty strong, although knees are getting a little achy. Nothing an Advil Liqui-Gel can't take care of. Â Wonder how the
fast runners are doing? Â I still keep seeing Alex ahead on the long straight stretches - my goal at this point is to just keep him in
sight.Â Starting to see a few more hikers out enjoying the scenic trail along the river canal. I check in at the picnic shelter &
grab another handful of goldfish to eat up that first hill.Â Wow, I am about halfway done!
Still able to run the second hill, although the long downhill before the trail is starting to jar my joints a little. The trail is getting a
little more rough - who left all these roots across the trail? Don't these people know that's a tripping hazard? The few steps are
starting to remind me a little of Crowder Mtn. Not a good sign. And would someone please turn that damn river off? It's making
me have to pee like a nervous little dog. Yeah, but here's the picnic shelter & the seemingly endless supply of goldfish.
A little harder to get going, but I still have enough energy to run up the hills.Â I'm now at the point where I start doing pointless
mathematical calculations in my head , i.e. if I give myself an extra 2.75 minutes for the remaining loops I can still finish in under
6 hours.Â This passes the time until I start along the trail yet again.Â Now the steps are starting to look like Laurel Valley. I start
looking around for Jib the wonder poodle as my ass is dragging so low I'm halfway convinced the damn dog is hanging on it.
Time & distance have become elastic, stretching like the spandex on the customers at a "Blue Light" special at
Kmart.Â Ah, but here's the picnic shelter again.... Gee, more goldfish.....
I finally catch Alex and Â at least have someone to talk to. We discuss times & I throw out a few more senseless math
calculations and Â theories. Gee, I may be talking a little too much.... In self-defense,Â Alex slows down a little & tells me to
go ahead. Hey, well at least it's gotten me along to the long flat about halfway thru the loop. Hmmm....What's this I'm carrying? A
handful of sweaty, slightly mushed goldfish. I must have picked them up at the last trip thru the aid station. Well, a snack would
probably do me good. I name each one Claude before I bite it's little smiley head off.Â Yeah, I do feel somewhat better now.....
Â I've decided to put my white gloves back on & am considering looking for a few antler-shaped sticks to carry as I'm
running.....At least if I get shot I get to ride back strapped on top of a SUV...... As I finally reach the last trail section I wonder when
the adrenaline is gonna kick in...... Still waiting.......... When I finally come back from my "happy place" I'm at the end of
the trail where it reaches the river. As I stagger out towards the picnic shelter all I can think of is sitting, no, make that lying
down......... But wait, what's this? I finished in 5:46? Here comes Claude with my hard earned TEAM SLUG tee....And there's a
nice kettle of hot tomato soup that I can float a few more goldfish in.......Ahhhhhhhhhh...........Where do I sign up for next year?