Monday, January 18, 2010

Uwharrie Training run #3

We went for a run...

Who gives a crap? Tens of thousands of people are dead and dying in Haiti as I write this, and it really puts everything in perspective. But reading and listening to the news is nothing but frustrating and depressing so I am taking a break from it. There's really not much we can do except donate money, so I picked CARE and UNICEF.

... back to the pointless banality of us running through the woods.

In preparation for the Uwharrie Mountain Run 40 miler, Shannon and I went for another long, long, training run in Uwharrie National Forest on Saturday. The goal was to run between 6 and 7 hours. These really long runs are not for physical training, if anything they are really bad for our health. Instead they are learning experiences:
  1. Learn the Uwharrie course
  2. Learn what, when, and how much to eat and drink
  3. Learn to pace ourselves to run for many hours
  4. Learn how stupid it was to sign up for the Uwharrie 40 miler
Despite getting up at 6am, we didn't actually get out there until just before 10am.
We parked at the south end of the 20 mile trail, which will be the half way turn-around for the 4o mile race. There, we met an ultra runner guy named Kent who regarded us with pity, but was nice and gave us some advice for the race.
We agreed to turn around at 1:15 pm, to make sure we were back by dark, and after a round of pictures (of course), we were off, heading north up the trail.

I go a little faster on the trails than Shannon, mostly because she stops a lot to take pictures, so I went on ahead. This first 5 miles felt great and easy as the sun came out and it warmed up to perfect running weather in the mid 50s. There were many people out on the trail training for the race like us. I ran into Ronnie coming south, who graciously offered the supplies in his truck up the trail.

Shannon did get some good pictures, which are here including some of the people she met out there. Here is Jerry, Ronnie and Patsy:

Some other folks, out training:

I stopped at our drop bag around mile 9 to eat a bit and refuel, still feeling good. Around mile 12, my phone beeped with a message from Shannon, who couldn't find the drop bag. As I was trying to call her back I walked head first into a tree leaning across the trail. I think the forest does not approve of cell phones.
I got to mile 16 around 1pm. Even though I felt good and it was a little early, I decided to turn around there. I soon ran into Shannon who was feeling great and running strong.

Trail "blaze"
Not a trail blaze. That's lichen

It must have been about 60 deg and I was getting pretty hot. Around mile 28 I ran out of water and thought "Oh, it's only another 4 miles"
That's when I hit the beast of a hill. It comes around mile 15 or 16 in the race, and it climbs 350 feet in about a half mile. Even walking slowly up it, I was out of breath and my last bits of energy drained out of me. After 5+ hours of Uwharrie trail I was done. Unfortunately I was still 3.5 miles from the car, and the only way to get there was to keep moving, and that was a long and painful hour.
I finally got back to the car and ate and drank ravenously. Shannon finished a few minutes later. We decided that we were not built for Ultra Marathons and we discussed dropping out of the race and finding nice flat 5K to enter.

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