4 week to Chattooga River 50K, this 29 mile trail run is my last long run, follow by a long taper.
I knew it was gonna take me a long time so I started at 6am this time. Got to watch the rising sunlight reflecting off the clouds and making them bright red, it was a gorgeous way to start a run. I started at the Turkey Creek bridge parking area. Followed Turkey Creek for about 3 miles to Graylyn, then turned right on Graylyn and hopped onto Sycamore trail and to the gravel road and turned back at the Sycamore Creek bridge just before the big lake. I ate my first wedge of PBJ here. Retracing my steps, I came back and jumped on the long loop of Sycamore Loop trail, then got briefly confused and continued across Graylyn on the same trail before remembering I was suppose to get on Company Mill at this point. Laughing at myself over it.
Long climbs at Company Mill were all done with power walk. Once I got to the top crossing Reedy Creek rd., I ate my second PBJ. From here it's a long downhill run to Crabtree creek, which I did continuously skipping all the walk breaks that my Garmin was set to do. Once I crossed Crabtree Creek, I climbed the steep mile to Harrison Ave. parking lot where I ate my third PBJ. At this point I think I was around mile 12. I raced downhill toward Reedy Creek lake on Loblolly trail and started hiking a lot of hills once I crossed it. Here I bumped into Sally and Rhonda whom I've met while volunteering at Umstead 100 over a month ago. We chatted for a few minutes, and Sally reminded me that since I helped so much during that race, I have a good shot of getting in the race next year. Well, at least I get the priority for registration, but I'm still lacking the capability to run the race!
I stormed to the car feeling good after just shy of 16 miles. Really. I was at about 12:50 pace at this point. Stopped at car for 5 minutes to reload, and I discovered I had only drank about half of my Nathan 2L pack. Thinking there is no way I'll drink the full 2L for the next 13 miles and not wanting to lug unnecessary weight, I only refilled the pack a bit, to maybe 2/3 full. This turned out to be a mistake. I ate most of a banana and another wedge of PBJ while drank some full strength Gatorade.
My second lap is the first lap in reverse, minus the spur on Sycamore trail. Here I ran into Sally and Rhonda again and I told Rhonda about Chattooga 50K which she was interested in. The race is full but maybe she can still squeeze in through cancellations.
I had got rid of my long sleeve shirt and changed to a white short sleeve shirt, which felt great on me. Refreshed from food, drink, clean shirt, and chatting with the girls, I happily ran down Loblolly then up hill to Harrison Ave. Once I popped out of woods here, I spotted a guy wearing a bright, almost blindly so, yellow shirt across the parking lot. I instantly knew it was the Umstead Trail Marathon shirt from this year which I have one, even though I missed the race due to the flu. I commented to him about the flashiness of the shirt and race and we both shared a good laugh.
I ate another PBJ on the way down to Crabtree Creek. Once across the creek, during the long climb up toward Reedy Creek, I was starting to feel the fatigue and tripped on a root or rock. I was so glad of the tough toe cage in my Adidas trail shoes, otherwise I would have lost a few toes on my right foot.
I circled around Sycamore Loop trail and came up on Graylyn. A bit of dilemma here. Either my additions were wrong or the GPS is not recording distance on trails correctly. I was suppose to be at mile 26 at this point, but GPS said I was at 24.6. Getting quite tired at this point, I didn't want to go up and down the hills on the other side of Graylyn anymore, so I ran along Graylyn to the gate, then turned around and came back. Somewhere around here I heard a gurgling sound when I sucked on the mouth piece of my Nathan pack. Oh no, running out of water. Damn, should have filled it full. I could have run down to Sycamore parking area to refill, but that means one extra hill which I didn't feel like doing. So I resigned to run slowly to not overwork myself and ration the last two sips in the pack with another 3.5 miles to go and hottest part of the day coming up.
After a bit I noticed I had stopped sweating. Either I was doing a good job of taking it easy, or I was a bit into heat exhaustion from dehydration. Which one, I didn't know. A mile went by and I noticed my right bicep start to cramp. Weird. I normally ran with a very relaxed arm posture. Maybe it is dehydration. Crap.
Finally at the car, GPS read 28.4 miles and I wasn't gonna do one extra step toward that 29 mark. I justified that GPS usually read short on twisty single track trails so I must be somewhere just over 29 miles.
Later in the afternoon I was out watering the garden, my neighbor Joel said I walked like I need to take a dump, LOL.