Friday, February 08, 2008

Uwharrie 40 Miler

The first race of the year was a good one. After getting to Asheboro, NC around 11pm on Friday after a stressful day at work, I just wanted to get to sleep knowing the alarm would be going off at 4:30am.

The GF and arrived at the race site close to 6am and were fortunate to get a parking spot along the side of the road so it was a short walk to the start. I checked in real quick and headed back to the car for 10 minutes of shut eye before organizing my gear and heading out 10 minutes before the start. It was right around freezing when the race started at 7am.

This was my 3rd year running the 40 miler and I've done the 20 miler in the past, so I'm familiar with the course. I stay in the back and let the others go ahead and just take my time navigating the trails and finding my pace. My training has really been down and I had really 'picked up' my training the two weeks before; hitting the trails for the first time the weekend before the race covering 6 and 14 miles, respectively.

Early on, I was running with some 'chatters' and I felt like I was still running a bit conservatively just to stay with them. I'm not much of a talker, but one guy had done MMT in the past, so we got to talking about the course. I finally passed him around mile 11 and didn't see him until the turn. I was moving quite nicely and finally shed my warm clothes at mile 8 for shorts and a baseball style hat since it was starting to warm up nicely. My nutrition was pretty much on the fly as I went with water/gatorade in one bottle of my waistpack, and CarboPro in the other. I tried to take a GU every hour as well as one Succeed! tab every hour as well.

My goal was to finish under 11hours, based on my limited training. I was moving nicely and got to the 20 mile mark in 4:45 - 5 minutes ahead of my time from last year. I went to the bathroom, grabbed more GUs, and refilled my bottles before heading out again after a 5 minute pit stop.

Last year, I wanted to get as close to negative splitting as I could, and I think I think I went out too fast. I told my GF to expect me about 5-8 minutes slower at each station then what I had arrived at on the way out. I was pretty spot on with my predictions. Nutritionally, I took 2 cups of Coke and a couple of orange slices before exiting each aid station. I wanted to limit my stops and keep moving. I ran when I could and moved quickly up the hills. For the most part, my knees and feet held up and weren't hurting too much.

It was around mile 29 when things started to derail. I left at 8 hours into the race and had 2 hours to cover 11 miles, which I thought was doable, to go sub 10 hrs - my new goal. I was feeling good and was in highspirts until I got to the next aid station, which it took me nearly an hour to get to. For some reason my calculations were off and I thought I'd be seeing my GF again, but I was at a 'no crew' aid station. I was bummed that I had one more to go before I was on my way home.

I moped out after stopping for 1 minute before I started to run again. I had picked off about 6 runners since the turn and didn't want anyone to pass me at the point, so I kept running. My feet (toes) were hurting and me knees and hips ached a bit. For some reason, I didn't remember running this 'out' section and it seemed very unfamiliar to me. Other sections I knew where I'd be crossing streams, running through mud, and going up hills, but there were no familiar marks. I finally made it to the last aid station at 9:39 into the race. I switched out the waistpack for the hand held to drop some weight and to give my back a break. I had covered these 2 miles in 30:52 on the way out and I figured I could do something close to it on the way back. Since I couldn't break 10 hours, my new goal was 10:10.

Long story short, I came in at 10:12 for 11/12 of all the women who finished. I'm most happy about taking off 12 minutes from my time last year. Sure, my training was lacking considerably, but I think there are a few key things that helped:

- Knowing the course - I knew to go out at my pace and where certain (re: harder) sections were and where the runable sections were

- Aid Stations - I knew what I wanted going in and didn't dilly dally. My longest break was 5 min at the turn (to pee and get new supplies), but I tried to keep everything close to 1 minute. I got what I needed and got out.

- Walking - It's easier said than done, but doing it correctly will get you up that hill pretty efficiently. It's something I need to keep practicing.

- Recovery - I've learned that if I don't get 8 hrs of sleep, I'm useless. I've been sleeping a lot and getting almost nightly massages from my GF. I'd even return the favor since she had never experienced the joy (and sometimes pain) of having your calves rubbed. Keeping those loose, as well as my hammies and butt, helped with recovery.

I'm happy with 10:12 and will use it as a gauge for Bull Run Run 50 in April. Last year, I went 10:24 at Uwharrie and finished BRR in 10:32. If I keep with my training (or pick it up, really) I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to go sub 10 hrs.


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