Day 86 – Marathon Week, Day #3

Marathon day three went mostly as expected. What was unexpected was the lack of rain. There was a fairly large storm anticipated in the afternoon that did not come to fruition. Normally a good thing but I had stopped in at a trail club hostel for almost three hours waiting for the storm to materialize. But the day continued with “the roller coaster.”

I mean, as far as roller coasters go, this one was mid at best. Clearly, the person who named this trail the roller coaster has never been to Cedar Park, or Six Flags – Fiesta Texas. There were no loop-de-loops or 5G turns. Just undulating ups and downs, you know the way hills sometimes do. And then there was the whole hiker warning, which I take umbrage with. It felt very presumptuous. Similar to funerals, sometimes they’ll give you tissue paper before it starts. Like “wait until you get a load of this funeral, you’re going to cry and cry, you’re gonna be so sad”. That’s how the warning felt. I mean the warning didn’t even have anything about pregnant ladies not hiking it, or warning this roller coaster may cause motion sickness, or exhaustion. Crossing 1,000 miles was cool though.

I don’t mean to disparage the pride and joy of Northern Virginia (oh wait, no that’s the Shenandoah’s). I’ll rephrase, I don’t mean to disparage the pride and Joy of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (Virginia Chapter), but I just wasn’t that impressed.

I stopped in at Bear Den Hostel seven miles in. I stayed nearly three hours to avoid a rainstorm. The storm I had anticipated to last a couple hours and drop a significant amount of rain. The “storm” was minor and turn out to be barely a drizzle.

It wasn’t a total loss. I managed to drink three sodas, shower (much needed), charge all my devices, and post on social media. The only things I wasn’t able to do were laundry and nap. The latter was needed because I work up at 6:00 a.m. to get significant miles in before the storm. Because of this I only got about six hours of sleep and was not on my A-game. I did get some more leukotape from Poptart and ran into Handmade and other familiar names and faces today.

I ended up leaving the hostel around 2:00 p.m. with 17 miles left to accomplish. The goal was to get to a campsite just outside WV to set myself up for success for the four-state challenge tomorrow. Did we get there? Yes, but there lies the rub.

I probably pushed harder than I wanted/needed to in order to get to the site. I had two miles left when I got to a gap with a gas station 0.3 off trail. I was starving and stocked up for the night and the next day. By the time I strolled into the campsite it was 10:00 p.m. There was one tent already there occupied by DILLIGAF who I met a day or two prior. We had a brief chat while I set up my tent and went to bed. I set an alarm for 2:00 a.m.

Already sleep deprived on Marathon Day #3, I was setting myself up to beast through an already challenging 45-mile day on minimal sleep, two days in a row. I’ve said it before, I like to live dangerously (also I’ll sleep when I’m dead).

Rabbit had another short and leisurely day, so my 23.7 miles made up more ground on his ten.

We started the day at 64.3. After today:

Chasing Rabbit Tracker: 54.3 miles

Let’s recap marathon week this far:

Day 1: 27.6 miles

Day 2: 22.6 miles

Day 3: 23.7 miles

Average: 25.1 miles

I had anticipated day three to be another step backwards. But tomorrow’s four-state challenge is where we make up some more ground (hopefully).

Stay tuned and stow away in my pack for day 87 of the Appalachian Trail.

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