Saturday, May 1, 2010

Umstead 1/2 Marathon, sort of

Crystal signed up for the Inside Out Sports 1/2 Marathon in two weeks. The race is mostly run in Umstead on Reedy Creek trail and she's never ran there before, so we decided to do a run down, and Sherri agreed to join us.

Sherri is coming back from a calf injury, so I was concerned that we don't run too fast for her, especially knowing how fast Crystal is. I carried my two bottle Nathan belt and filled only one with 21 oz of Gatorade, and the second bottle only had Gatorade powder. I planned to fill that bottle at mile 6 water spigot near Trenton gate.

We started out with a fast warm up, then was immediately into low 9 min intervals. Cruising along the rolling section of Reedy Creek trail between airport and Cemetary Hill, Crystal asked if it gets any hillier. Sherri and I both chuckled and yeah, this is the flat part of the run.

Soon we fell off S-turn hill and start the long long climb of Reedy Creek Lake hill. Crystal got her first taste of things to come and wondered just where is it gonna end. Still going mighty fast imo at this point, but since Sherri wasn't complaining, I figured I better tough up and suffer in silence. We ran into James Kesterson near the intersection of Turkey Creek and Reedy Creek and I introduced Sherri to him and mentioned we'll all be running the New River 50K together in the fall. James had an early start and was heading out toward the Art Museum so we waved goodbye and turned onto Turkey Creek trail.

Here is where I screwed up. In middle of a conversation, I totally missed the water spigot. Then I keep on thinking it's further ahead until I saw Loblolly trail head, then I knew for sure we missed it. Didn't want add any more miles to this run, I started ration my Gatorade even though I was sweating profusely at this point keeping up with the girls.

A nice 1.5 mile descent of south Turkey Creek took us to the 2.4 miles of rolling climbs of North Turkey Creek. Crystal finally got the full treatment of Umstead in this section but she's a trooper and even challenged me to a sprint race at the last steep hill of Turkey Creek. Neither of us lasted more than 20 seconds before ready to puke.

Still rationing my Gatorade, I focused on good body posture to help breath, and leaning into the trails and letting my feet fall below me rather than in front of me. It does help the matter and I could definitely feel the lighter effort load. The descent of Powerline Hill on Graylyn was a gift but followed by the climb to Reedy Creek followed by the Not-Cemetary-Yet hill drained us, only to dump us right at base of Cemetary Hill. I know salvation was just beyond the top of hill in form of cold taste water at airport water spigot. I gathered my last bit of reserve and raced up the hill just ahead of Crystal and Sherri.

Refilling my bottles saved me. By now Sherri also ran out of water but Crystal still had plenty, a sign that we were working much harder than she was. From here it was a cruise down hill to the car and I had enough to put in a 7 min pace 1/2 mile sprint to the finish.

Overall we did the run at 10:13 pace, which I thought was way fast, especially given the high humidity and temperature of the run and the fact that we missed the water stop at mile 6. It was a good warm up run for Crystal, so we accomplished the run's purpose. Hopefully she'll have nicer weather for her race.

ps. went home and dug into some data. says the route has 400ft of elevation change. However looking at various peaks and valleys of the route on Google Earth revealed it had far more. Finally with help of a elevation chart from the Umstead 100 website, I figured out the route had 1100ft of of gain and 1100ft of loss over 13.5 miles.

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