AT: US19E -> Damascus Run

On June 12th Sho Gray and I ran from US19E to Damascus, roughly 74 miles by trail distance, but more like 75 miles or more by the time we were done.  Not due to getting lost, but due to “side trips” to get water, back track a bit, etc.  I had estimated maybe 20-22 hours based on the elevation profile and from what through hikers had told me — namely that the last 30 miles into Damascus was “easy.”  Boy did I underestimate it!  It was a very difficult run that took over 25 hours to complete, had 15,000′ of climbing, and was filled with rocks and roots and mud most of the way.  Both Sho and I had moments of despair, but we persevered and made it through!  Here are photo’s from the trip…

First, the map from the GPS data: Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.12.39 PM

Next, the elevation profile: Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 4.25.02 PM And now just random photo’s Sho and I took along the way: 11289861_653365220273_477716749_n 11541296_653365250213_939594453_n 11541318_653365275163_2045145477_n 11637869_653365439833_950857036_n 11647317_653365429853_1157875560_n 11650466_653365320073_1523579652_n 11650666_653365225263_1299348017_n 11650761_653365030653_1015992070_n 11651311_653365409893_75085878_n 11652126_653365290133_325504724_n 11653477_653365160393_1481651955_n 11655529_653365364983_1754572062_n IMG_5108 IMG_5110 IMG_5111 IMG_5116 IMG_5119 IMG_5120 IMG_5128 IMG_5130 IMG_5132


  • Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek pack – ripped across the top and I lost my Sawyer filter bag and maybe (?) some food…  UD is replacing the pack, and I still love it, though maybe a touch small for this distance/length of a run
  • Sawyer Squeeze Bag water filter system — will next time use the Sawyer mini filter in-line from the hydration pack to mouth piece, and a collapsable cup to  fill the hydration bladder.  The Sawyer squeeze bags are great when you have running water, but not so great when you have a small spring / puddle, which is what we had the 2nd half of the run.
  • Altra Superior 2.0 — my 1st pair ripped in the toebox and this was a brand new pair, never worn before.  Had a bit of a hot spot the 1st day but overall this shoe was still great, considering it was brand new.
  • Nike combat compression – still happy with these after moving on from under armour.
  • Petzl Tikka RXP headlight – love this light.  One charge lasted all night.
  • Fenix PD32UE – super bright hand held helpful for finding the trail in some areas when it’s not always obvious.
  • Icebreaker bodyfit 200 top — got some terrible chaffing between this and the pack.  Had never chaffed in this shirt before, but had not worn it with the SJ pack.
  • Icebreaker 200 hoodie — ended up wearing this at night and taking off the body fit due to chaffing, and it got me through.
  • Injinji toe socks – awesome as always.
  • Buff – never leave home without it…
  • Had a knife, black trash bag,  and a rope for emergency purposes — ended up using the rope to tie my pack together once the top ripped so badly.
  • Food:  Started with Ucan super starch in the bottles and a bit of gatorade for flavor (it’s all the shop at the hostel at the start had…).   Epic bison bars.  Vfuels.  One pack of pop tarts, one pack of peanuts.  Was really low on food the last 5 hours, but I’m not sure if I lost some food due to the torn pack or if I just had the perfect amount to get through to the end….
  • Water:  gathered along the way from water falls, streams, and springs.

Jordan Lake 12 hour

After Uhwarrie 40 back in February, I really didn’t run a lot.   A decent amount of biking and running combined — but maybe just 4-6 hours per week total.  So why not jump into a 12 hour race on my favorite local trail?  :-)  I was able to get out a couple of weeks before the race and run the 2.9 mile loop 5 times, so it wasn’t all low running.  But other than that, no runs more than an hour to 1:15 or so for 10-11 weeks.

Race started at 7:00 a.m., and since it’s only 15 minutes away, it was an easy morning.  I went with a little ucan + beet root powder + grape juice, rather than hard boiled eggs or plantain pancakes, and it worked fine.

There’s not much to report in this kind of race — lap after lap, so I’ll just share my lap splits.  The race director / timer was able to keep detailed stats:

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.44.00 PM

So that shows I probably went out a little too hard, but that is normal.  :-/  There were a few relay teams running, and I let the two lead runners go off, but I did want to be a bit towards the front to avoid any bottle necks.  There were 40+ runners all starting about 30 yards from the single track, so it was good to get in front and avoid the conga lines.

Around 5-6 hours in, I was seriously considering calling it a day.   I just wasn’t into it, I guess due to lack of training, and my lower GI was a bit unhappy.   And then I came in to the turn, Kelly and the kids were there ready to run, and I saw I was in 2nd!  That gave me motivation, which you can see a little in loops 11 and 12 that Kelly ran with me.  It didn’t last long, though, and I was soon back to 44 minute loops.

They had taken down the leader board around 8 or 9 hours in, as a storm was heading in, but I was certain Shannon had passed me and I was in third.  As I climbed the last hill before the steep descent to the finish line with just 25 minutes left on the clock, I got passed by Alan, who took third place from me.  I had nothing left to sprint it into the finish and he finished strong.  He and I were one lap down on Shannon and Randy, but at least I won 1st Chatham County Finisher and got a nice piece of pottery out of it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.54.56 PM

I finished with 52.8 miles, and I had gone into the race thinking anything over 50 would be pretty good on this tough little single track, so I was happy.  I did have some GI issues in the second half of the run –  I blame it on the trip to Mexico just before this race!  :-)  So maybe I could have gotten one more lap out there.

GPS died about 7.5 hours in but here’s what it captured:

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Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.58.26 PM

Gear wise not much to report — I still love the Altra Superior 2 and wore them all 52.8 miles…  I’ve switched from Under Armor compression to Nike compression, and that continues to work well.  Go-lite shorts, injinji socks, as normal. No shirt once it warmed up — and boy was it hot in the middle of the day!  I was carrying ice in my buff each loop from 2 – 5 p.m. or so.

Nutrition was vfuels, water+grape juice, MAPs (BCAAs), a couple hard boiled eggs, a bit of fruit.  And the race  brought out sandwiches at noon so I had one quarter of one, and pizza at 5:30 and I had one small slice.  One small bite sized brownie…  And one can of mountain dew spread over the latter six hours, and one small carton of coconut water.  Oh, and a few dates rolled in coconut flakes.

I do hope they run this race in the future – I still love the course!



On a recent work trip, I got to run around Hyde park, on a sunny day which is a bit of a rarity.  Here’s a couple shots.IMG_4508



That same day I was to meet some coworkers over by the Eye of London, about a 3.5 mile walk there, so I took a few more shots… The coworkers always seem surprised that I’ll walk that far.IMG_4512 IMG_4513 IMG_4514 IMG_4518

Of course I walked back, but I took a bit of a longer route so I could go by Big Ben and Westminister:IMG_4527 IMG_4528London is really a great walking city!   Walking + Run was just shy of 14 miles…


Uhwarrie 2015

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(Photo courtesy Shannon — hope to add more over the coming days!)

I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Uhwarrie 40 miler, after missing out last year.  It’s one of my all time favorite races, so I was quite happy.  Training went well, and after battling a relatively minor head cold/sinus issue for a week to 10 days prior, I was ready to run.  Or as ready as you can be, for Uhwarrie!

Kelly and I had to get up at 3:45 a.m., make coffee, and head out the door to pick up Heather by 4:30, and drive to the check in point.  (We already had everything packed and breakfast made, all ready to go.)  Check-in was once again at Eldorado Outpost, a short 15 minute shuttle ride to the start.  I checked in, got my number, put my gear together, and rode over.  I had just enough time to hit the port-o-pot one last time, take off my warm clothes, and be ready to go.

Uhwarrie starts with a killer climb in the 1st mile, and there’s a balance to be found in going out just hard enough to get in front of enough people so that you are not stuck in a congo-line for the 1st few miles, having to expend excess energy in passing there, or going out too hard and blowing up on the 1st hill.  This year I was fortunate to not go out in the top 10 and get sucked into running too much of the 1st hill, but being up front enough to not get behind the pack.  In fact, there seemed to be a split in the top 10-12 runners and the next pack, and I was in the front of the 2nd pack, and all of us where happy to power hike quite a bit.

Beyond that, I’ll cut to the chase.   I felt really good all day, though more so after the 1st 5-7 miles.  Early on, I felt good but not great.  By mile 16 or 17, just after Dennis,  and all the way  through 22 or 23, I felt great and was ready to go!  But I was wise enough to hold back, because I knew what was to come.


I had hopes of a sub 8, which will always be a super SUPER stretch for me, and while I did it once, it would have to be a truly special day to do it again.  I hit the turn in 3:49, after saying to Pinto that 3:45 was necessary to keep our shot at sub 8 alive.  Turns out I ran 8:05 so just about right…  What is a little odd is that my PR is 7:57, and I actually felt better on this 8:05 than on that run.  :-/  Then I had a stretch from 18-26 or so that was pretty rough, and while I came out of it strong, I still don’t know how I pulled off the sub 8.  I’m going to give credit to Spadie, who ran behind me for a good 7 or 8 miles from 30 on or so that year, whereas this year, I was pretty much all alone the last 12 -14 miles, other than passing just one runner.  (I was also worried about Hughes catching me, who had passed me just before the turn, when I was struggling, but whom I passed at 28 or 29…)

Finish line photo:


I’m with AC who wrote this:

It only took 5 attempts, but I understand how to run the Uwharrie 40 now.
Don’t fight it. There are more runnable miles on the trail than I am capable of running anyway, so there is no sense trying to run the hard parts.
Slight incline? Walking that.
Pile of rocks? Walking that.
Steep decent? Walking that.

Here it is a couple of days later, and I feel really good.  I of course had some DOMS, but it’s just about gone now on Tuesday, after the Saturday race.

Here’s some interesting data from Strava.  First up, the map, elevation profile, and splits.  I didn’t have auto splits on, so this is the 1st 20, and then less than 2 minutes at the turn around included in the 2nd 20.  About 23 minutes difference if you don’t count the transition time.  AC actually almost pulled off even splits, which is incredible!

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 3.19.46 PM

Here’s there race analysis, which shows the fastest mile, average mile pace, and slowest mile.  That 16:26 at mile 34 killed me!   But that is a heck of a climb, there, covering nearly the whole mile:

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 12.40.15 PM

Here are my results over the years:

Year Time Place
2010  7:57 (short course)  30/71
2011  8:50:22  30/88
2012  7:57:17  27/148
2013  8:49:06  33/90
 2015 8:05:07  17/88

All in all a great day, with beautiful weather.  And I hope to find that 5 minutes one day!

Gear review:

  • Altra Superior 2.0 — I LOVE this shoe!  First time in 5 Uhwarrie’s my feet have not felt totally trashed at the end.
  • Injinji toe socks — zero blisters, one single teeny hotspot under my R big toe
  • Calf sleeves and arm warmers for warmth at the start – ripped off the arm warmers at the turn but kept the calf sleeves on, mostly for time considerations.
  • Nike combat compression shorts – these are doing better than under armor for me these days — just about 0 chafing.
  • go-lite shorts — can’t believe this great company is out of business!
  • Icebreaker 200 weight short sleeve top — still my favorite clothing brand!
  • Icebreaker vest — great vest, dropped at the turn.
  • Florida coast to coast buff — still my good luck charm after what, 15 years?
  • 10 oz amphipod handheld…  had some leaking on some legs, so ran out of water once or twice, but not too bad
  • Had an ipod but never broke it out…

Nutrition review:

  • pre-race:  coffee and heavy cream; 1 hard boiled egg, a bit of a plantain pancake I had cooked the night before, but it didn’t turn out very well so I didn’t eat much.  I had brought pemmican to the start but I just didn’t feel hungry and didn’t want to force it down.
  • during the race:
    • 4 Vfuel’s — wish I’d had more, these are my go to on hard efforts!
    • 1 Justin Nutbutter, chocolate hazlenut, had 3 more variations on this, but didn’t feel like eating them at all
    • two dates in coconut flakes – quite good!
    • a few white potatoes with salt from the aid stations
    • two 1/4 banana’s from the aid stations
    • MAPS — BCAA’s, save the legs, maybe 4-5 per hour
    • I drank heed at most of the aid stations
    • one half cup of coke, and maybe 3 half cups of mountain dew (unicorn tears)

I think that’s it — I’m estimating maybe 1200 calories over the 8 hours…

Again, if more photo’s show up, I’ll update this post.

2014 Strava Summary


Yearly summary from Strava… Which I didn’t switch to exclusively until late July, so some data was lost, though it’s not clear how much… Not sure what the “workouts” are other than something mis categorized, I’d guess… And I’m fairly sure there was more strength work than that, though not nearly enough… Look for more in 2015!