July 11: Another cold morning- such a cold wind to contend with! I again started the day on multiple layers which I peeled off as it got later and warmer. Today I met a couple who were ultra-marathoners. We played leapfrog all day, stopping for breaks together, discussing Scott Jurek and his attempt to set the speed record for the AT. (They were flabbergasted that he wasn't on par with his predicted time of 42 days- I was not)
As the day went on,I saw a theory that I'd had rolling around in my head playing out for me in real life. All endurance sports build your cardiovascular system. But the muscular endurance is unique to each sport. This couple- used to running 50-plus mile races - fully expected to be doing 35-40 mile days without a problem. Not happening with a full pack!
And despite my continuous reassurance that doing 20-25 mile days right off the bat was really good- "that is a solid day!"- they became more and more disillusioned.
"How far are you going today?" They asked.
"Between 25 and 30, spending on how my legs feel."
And they became even more despondent. Even when I reminded them that I had been doing this since April.
I ended up doing 29.5 that day- finding a nice flat spot amongst the trees. Unfortunately, it was also amongst lots of Mosquitos. Mosquitos who were making a louder and higher pitched whine than I'd ever heard. And when I looked out from my tent/bug shelter, I saw hundreds of Mosquitos all mating around my tent. Great.
Around 9:30 pm, I awoke to some voices and headlamps. It was that couple- pushing on in the night in the quest for more miles.
Peace, love, and trail magic