Sunday, February 6, 2011

Uwharrie Mountain Run & Country Bear Jamboree

2/5 race 1:40 something with left foot taped

HR avg 169 max 183

In retrospect it doesn't seem so bad, but on the course I remember feeling like a bad person for guilting the +1 into going ahead with the 20 miler after experiencing the difficulty firsthand.  I knew the first hill would be bad, but my training style actually hurt me on the course.  In training I employ the "never walk" strategy of running.  I might drop back to a snail's pace on certain hills, but I maintain my running form with a higher foot speed and a shorter stride.  This strategy doesn't work for Uwharrie, or at least not with the training hills we have here in the Triangle.  I was expecting to walk the first hill due to the bottleneck at the start, but I really thought I would be able to run the rest.  I wasn't even close, my heart rate would stay in the 170's even walking some of them!

Then there is the terrain issue.  Narrow single track with roots and rocks everywhere.  Not to mention the mud and standing water from all the rain.  I'm still not sure how I didn't fall or run into a tree at some point.  I made a point to mentally tell myself to focus if I felt my mind wandering or if I had to take a drink etc, as even a millisecond lapse in watching the trail could put you on your ass or worse.

I've never had any problems with my back on runs since I did C25K, but I aggravated it in spin class on Thursday and then sleeping in a strange bed didn't help.  I didn't even give the back pain I felt in spin class a second thought until it hit me on the course.  This resulted in shooting pain and spasms in my lower back that would intensify every time I walked.  The pain would get worse when I would first start running again and eventually subside, but as soon as I walked again it would come back with a vengeance.  I started to feel like I was visually hunched over from the pain, and did my best to correct my posture.  Telling myself to push my hips forward and land with everything lined up on each step.

I also had some calf problems toward the end of the race, I had to slow myself on some of the downhills as my outer right calf started hurting toward the end.  My two bottles worked out great, as this allowed me run right past the aid station at mile 5.  My Timex Global Trainer registered 8.1 miles and the actual course is 8.4, so it did a pretty good job with the extreme tree cover and elevation changes.

When I got into the van for the ride back to the parking area I realized my right shoulder was cramping horribly.  I don't know if this points to a nutrition issue or just a training limitation.  I started eating all my snacks out of my drop bag.  One packet of margarita Clif shot bloks, a Kind bar, a packet of chocolate hazelnut butter.  I also took the salt tab I was carrying around.  I'll be curious to see how the right shoulder feels when I start lifting again on Monday.

What would I do differently:

I made the mistake of over dressing on top.  I should have ditched the jacket or my silk base layer before the start.  I might ditch the sunglasses in the future if I have to walk at any point.

I made some mistakes on the course.  I should have gone ahead and passed people in the beginning especially on the downhills.  Due to being so heavy I fly downhill and if I have to slowdown it just burns out my legs more quickly.  I finally gave up being polite and passed about 10 people on one downhill section.

mental toughness:
I could have pushed myself more.  I walked longer than I needed to on some sections and stopped running sooner than I had to on some of the hills, as well.  I'm thinking I might setup an alarm for 170bpm and see if I can keep my heart rate above that for an entire training session.

Would I train differently?

Umm, more hills, longer hills, steeper hills...did I mention hills?  I need to string together more training runs without injuring myself.  I need to do more pace work, so I can improve my recovery between bursts of maximum exertion.  This will help me on obstacle courses as well as the hills.


  1. Walking can be a good strategy, sometimes it's even faster than trying to run up a hill. I always try to go for even effort instead of even pace.
    And don't be shy about passing people, after all, it is a race. "ON YOUR LEFT!"

  2. Thanks for the tips and congrats on the 5th place finish. I can't imagine running 8 miles that fast let alone 40!