Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hyner View In August

NOTICE: This page features product reviews and race reports, but it is also my personal journal where I share my thoughts and feelings about many topics, both personal and otherwise, when I feel I need to talk to somebody and have nobody else to fill that role. I don't intend to air my dirty laundry, or hurt anybody, but rather seek to clear my mind of what gnaws at me without an outlet. Very few people read this page anyway.

Seven days out from the Pine Creek Challenge 100k and tapering, I found the time to make the nearly three hour drive to Hyner View State Park in Clinton County. A long way to drive just to look over a mountain side, but worth it to be sure. Hyner View just might be the best view in Pa. I'd made the climb three times before, twice on foot during the Hyner View Trail Challenge, and once by vehicle shortly after the 2014 race when Maria and I made the drive up to survey some of the scenery we’d just covered on the way to our respective finishes.

Today I made the trip with my mother who has heard countless tales of this amazing view but had yet to see it in person.

Naturally she was blown away by what she saw. The view from below as you come in from the south on route 120 is imposing, and then about half way up the winding state park road you get a quick glance of the overlook still far above you and you know you are headed somewhere truly special. Your excitement only builds once you’ve parked your car. The view looms up ahead, but you cannot see it until you approach the stonework. At last you get a panoramic view of the Pennsylvania Wilds.

The view for me, today, was bittersweet in many ways.

Bittersweet first because the lacked the excitement of race day. Trail, as you come out of the woods and approach the lookout from below was completely grown over. Many of the tourists visiting that day, no doubt, were completely unaware that each April more than 1,200 athletes test their meddle on this massive climb and those that come after.

..and secondly because of Maria's sudden absence, not only on the view, but from my life. A void that so far is proving difficult to understand.

We met last August at a Thursday Night "Beat the Heat" after dark group run put on by our club, VRC. I remember feeling sorry for her, having happened to pick a particularly slow night as her first, as she would be joining three strange guys with shaved heads. Most women would have turned around and left, but Maria toughed it out for three sweltering miles. We later became friends on Facebook and she became an regular presence on the club page. 31 years old at the time, I was a year or two removed from my last failed relationship and finally wrapping my head around, and coming to accept the likelihood that I was going to spend my life as a bachelor. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but one found me, and we ended up hitting it off. We had some great times during the fall of 2013 and on into 2014. It seemed I had finally found an intelligent, beautiful, partner to share trail running and many other interests with. I’m not exactly sure what happened to separate us, and while I’m still reeling from this sudden change - I am glad for the time we had together; races, movies at the theater or on the couch or bed with Netfilx, seeing Dream Theater in Philly, spaghetti Sunday’s while watching The Walking Dead, and especially traveling to and from the many races we attended in the last year. She is deeply engrained in the race reports on this page and I’m not exactly sure how to deal with that. Try to erase her presence? I can delete the words and the pictures but I cannot scrub the memories from my mind. And are those once good memories now bad and bittersweet? Are the very special race courses we shared together now tarnished for me? Is there yet a chance of reconciliation or is that just a pipe dream of mine, prolonging my agony? All of my past failed relationships were mutually destructive, with both parties being better off apart. But this is something different for me - a relationship that I was happy with, even with its minor flaws, ended i think, before its time and without so much as an argument. I'm still in love with somebody who refuses to talk.

So long until next year Hyner, if ever again...

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