OK, I know this is a little late and this is actually two workouts, not just one. The Uwharrie Recon occurred on 12/29/10 and the Carrboro 50k was on 1/2/11. Both are key events in my preparation for the Uwharrie 40 and are close in calendar proximity, so they both deserve a mention.
I had a cold much of the week, which was unfortunate, but at least it wasn’t a nasty FLU cold. It’s hard to say whether this impacted the quality of execution for these two training events. What the cold did impact was how much I did the rest of the week. Easy jogs and spins quickly turned into days off. I felt a little guilty doing that, especially doing that more than once in a week, but I also know myself well enough to not worry that I’m just “being lazy.” If I don’t feel like working out – I really should not be working out. Plus, I logged 60 miles the prior week which is HUGE for me.
The Uwharrie Recon consisted of a road trip with some buds to the start / finish location for the 40 mile event. We split into different pace groups going out for 90 minutes then turned around and came back. This got me about 15 miles total. I felt OK, but the course is really rugged and the north sides of the hills were still snow covered. I found myself second-guessing the wisdom of signing up for the 40 mile event, which is bound to happen at least once or twice for a first-timer. Maybe more.
Where I felt most under-prepared was for handling the extended steep sections that required aggressive hiking over actual running. This sort of hiking seems to use my hamstrings and glutes far more than much of the running I’ve done thus far. Yikes. Also, the super technical downhill sections were tough. Think steep inclines, loose rocks of various sizes and a masking layer of snow and/or brown leaves. I only experienced one instance of “trail love”, which is a euphamism for a sudden up close and personal connection with the ground. Overall, I’d say this session left me properly frightened and respectful of the task I have set before me in early February.
The Carrboro 50k is a Fatass event, which means that people get together to do a certain trail run without entry fees, t-shirts and usual accoutrements of actual paid-for events. The Trailheads organize this every year and you have to be well-connected and in the know to find out exactly when it is. Or know people in the know.
Anyway, I happily know people in the know, so I was able to come out for the third time to participate and the first time to do the whole distance. This course consists of a figure 8 of about 11 miles (5+ miles each loop of the eight) with a volunteer supplied and manned aid station. This is great for ensuring you don’t run out of fuel, but it also provides lots of opportunities to bail. I think there’s lots of early bailing because of that.
In early January, you can get just about any kind of weather. Mostly, though, you get the kind of weather that most sane people would consider best to avoid by staying inside, eating doritos, drinking beer and watching TV from a comfy spot on the couch. This particular day was no different, although it started far warmer than the conditions we’ve seen in one of our coldest Decembers on record. Yes, I actually wore shorts and brought arm warmers for when the front blew in, which it did noticably and suddenly about halfway through.
I ran with my friend Alisha Little who’s longest runs ever consist of one 2:45 run and one 3:00 hour run. Ever. But she’s a tough nut and hung in there. As for me, I felt surprisingly good. Sure, the legs really feel the miles when you approach marathon distance, but it wasn’t too bad. I felt like if I had to, I could have kept going another two hours. But that would have been silly and needless, so I didn’t.
It’s funny that over the course of one week I had two key training events that first put a nick into my confidence then rebuilt it four days later. Also, I now know what I most have to work on. Priorities for the next few weeks include steep hill hiking and downhill running. I’ve got some ideas on how to work these in too. Yup. Later on those.