After missing the lottery in 2014, my luck improved and I had made it back in to the 2015 Uwharrie Mountain 40 mile trail race. After a less than stellar outing in January at The Harbison 50K, I really focused on cleaning up my diet. More raw foods, minimal grain intake and no soda. I had logged 226 miles in January, and was looking forward to running Uwharrie to see if the diet change and hard training would pay off.
The 40 mile race starts at 7am, followed by the start of the 20 miler at 8am and the 8 mile race at 9. The temps were chilly at the start, right at 24 degrees, but the forecast called for temps to warm up to around 50 by the afternoon. We arrived at the start via shuttle and shuffled around the fire while waiting for the call to the start line. I love the start of this race! You run for about 200 feet on road, the make a sharp right turn onto the trail and immediately start the first climb. By the time you summit the one mile climb, you are no longer cold!
I hung towards the back of the back, looking to settle in early and conserve some energy for the second half. The 40 mile is an out and back course, and I have seen many a runner ( including myself) go out to hard on the first 20 and struggle on the back half.
I ran right through the first aid station at mile five, since I was good on water/electrolyte and had my trusty Orange Mud HydraQuiver packed with UGo Bars and Energy Bits for fuel. The pack had thinned out a bit by then and I was hanging with a small group of runners at a comfortable pace. The next aid station I cam to was a mile 8, where we crossed Hwy 109. The lead pack of the 20 mile runners were catching us now, which meant stepping off the single track to let them by. I caught up with my buddy Dave and it was good to run and chat with him. The aid stations were basically 3 miles apart now, so I was getting my bottles topped of at each station, grabbing a quick snack, and getting on down the trail. Coming into the aid station at mile 14 I was feeling good, focusing on staying at a comfortable pace and concentrating on hydration and fueling.
When I hit the 20 turn around, it had just turned 12pm. I was happy to run the first half in 5 hours. I was still feeling fresh. I took off my jacket, changed beanies and got my water bottles filled and off I went. I was there for maybe 1 minute. I do not like to linger at aid stations!
The out and back course is one of my favorites to run. I like point to point as well. I always get a mental boost at the turn around of a race. This time it was no different. The weather was great in the afternoon and I was in a really good groove both physically and mentally.
Coming back, I saw many of the 20 mile folks in the home stretch of their race. We exchanged words of encouragement, and I reassured them they were close to the finish!
As I got to some of the major climbs on the second half of the race, I began to catch some people. I was climbing really strong and power hiking the steeper climbs. At 3 pm, I came through the aid station at mile 32, sticking to my routine of getting my water bottles topped off. grabbing a quick snack and moving on. There were two aid stations left, one at mile 35 and the last one at mile 38. I came through 38 knowing I had one more big climb before we descended into the finish. When I summited the last climb, I same a runner in front of me. I though I could catch him, but he looked back and saw me and started hauling ass! We both bombed down the final several hundred yards to the finish line. He had a strong kick, and I could not close on him. We both laughed and hugged it out at the finish, with the guy thanking me for pushing him at the end.
The bottom line: a 43 minute PR! 10 hours, 5 minutes and 51 seconds.
My previous time from 2013 was 10:48
I was 4 hours , 59 minutes on the first 20 miles and 5 hours, six minutes on the back 20.
I was a happy boy.
So I will continue on the lean and green in 2015 campaign as I gear up for the Mount Mitchell Challenge on February 28th!
Hoka Rapa Nui Trail shoes
InKnBurn Haida Long sleeve Tech shirt
Nike Run long sleeve base layer
Virginian Lightweight Jacket
Orange Mud Beanie
Orange Mud HydraQuiver Pack
ProCompression and Sigvaris compression sleeves
Nutrition and Hydration:
UGo Bars Anutter flavor
Elete Electrolytes Citrilyte