I completed my third half marathon of the year yesterday and the Uwharrie Rumble was the most difficult race of them all! High humidity, 4,729 ft of elevation gain, large rock fire roads followed by technical single track made for quite a long morning. The 8K race went off at 8am. There were maybe eight people running. This is why I love trail races. There were maybe 50 or so of us running the half. Very laid back and casual.
As I said, the humidity was insane! By mile four I was drenched, head to toe. The wide roads changed to a run of single track at around mile five, complete with a brutal uphill segment. Cresting the top of that bad boy is when I started having trouble catching my breath. You could chew the air. The good thing was, despite all the rain we had been having, the trails were not too muddy.
I would spend the rest of the run trying to catch my breath. I had to resort to walking up the hills, and running the flats. Aroung mile eight I was really starting to lose it. I felt exhausted. I was running pretty much by myself at this point, and it was a struggle just to keep moving on. I realized it was going to be my mind that got me to the finish today, not my body.
I got myself together and dug in. Using the mantra "relentless forward progress", I found myself back on the "Super Tree" trail and headed for the home stretch. At one point, I had stopped and hunched over to try and catch my breath, only to notice that my compression sleeves on my calves now had salt streaks on them from sweating so damn much!
Of course, the last mile seemed to take forever, but I rounded a turn and there it was. I was never so happy to stop running in my life. Although there were no race photos, this is pretty much the way I looked/felt at the finish line. I was waiting for someone to yell: "Elias!!!!!!!!"