2017 ATT Marathon

I added the ATT Marathon to my race calendar pretty late – about a month before the race itself.  I added it as a “training race” (or a ‘C’ race) to prepare for the MST 50k three weeks out.  I’ve been mostly doing single track hilly/mountainous ultras for a while and feel like I’ve lost some speed at a more road like run, and figured I’d be doing a long training run that weekend anyway, so why not?

I met Sarah and David at Lowes in PBO at 5:30, and Sarah’s husband drove us over.   The race states to arrive by 5:30 even if you have a parking pass to guarantee a spot, but we arrived closer to 6.  There were still no issues parking.   It was a bit chilly (42F?) but I opted to leave the vest behind and just run with arm warmers, gloves, and a 200 weight icebreaker tee.  I also had a buff over my ears.  While it was a bit chilly walking to the start and checking in my post race bag, once in the starting corral it wasn’t bad — lots of heat with all the bodies!

My plan was to run out with Mark Manz who was to lead the 3:40 pace group for a mile or two or three, and then speed up and shoot for roughly an 8:00/mile pace avg.   But I didn’t see Mark there so I thought I’d jump in with the 3:35 group.  David was up ahead in the 3:30 group.  About 2 miles in, the 3:35 group was only 10s behind the 3:30 group, so I felt like the pacing was off.  I had come up on David and ran with him for a few.  Once we turned on to the ATT, it’s a slight downhill, and I knew it was time to pick it up.  I passed the 3:35 group and quickly decided to pass the 3:30 group too — I didn’t like being behind a group.

So then I was in no man’s land… I watched the 3:25 group up ahead, but didn’t really close the gap much at all.  Looking at my watch, I figured they were more in the 3:22-3:23 range and was content to just run my race.  There’s not a lot to write about for the middle portion of the race.  It’s like a T, so you go north and turn around, then south and turn around, and then back to the “trunk” of the T and back to the start/finish.  The two turn arounds let me see the various pace groups and other runners a couple times.

I held steady until the south turn around and was really feeling good.  But I recalled from the 2014 race that I imploded from mile 23-25 or so, with the every so slight 1-2% grade really wearing me down.  This time I thought if I could just get over that climb averaging under 8:00 for each of those miles, I’d be pretty happy.  I ended up doing 7:40 or so and it didn’t feel hard at all.

At that point I really picked it up a notch, and finally felt like I was working.  But with just a couple miles to go, now was the time, C race or not.  I knew I’d be under 3:20, and thought briefly I could even go for a PR (3:17).  But alas I had waited too long to have a shot at that!   I finished very strong in 3:18:44 on my watch and had a BQ by 6+ minutes.  I was very pleased with that!

Here’s the pace chart…  So much for 3:40 (8:25) to start!  But it never felt hard.

And the splits for the markers on the course…  Love the negative split and passing 40 runners in the last 10k!

Strava race analysis:

And final results:

Post race photos:

(David ran a 3:31 and was 2nd in the 60-64 age group!)

I’ll update here if I get any other photos from the race photographer…



Barcelona Day 4:  Montserrat (and back to reality)

Kelly and I got up early and took the subway to the Montserrat train, which was about an hour out of the city.  We had a bit of confusion on the “combined” ticket we had purchased back in town and which stop to get off, and what kind of ride we’d get up the last bit, but we eventually made our way up and down.  I would like to be on top of the mountain when there are less people, as it was a bit crowded, but it was still beautiful.  When we eventually made it back to town, I had to quickly rush off to the conference I’m here for!  Kelly flies home in the morning while I need to stay in town and work a couple of days.

Barcelona Day 3:  Old City Gothic and Gaudi

On the recommendation of my co-worker Larry, we booked a private tour through Runner Bean Tours.  We ended up with the same tour guide he and his family had, Jessi, an ex-pat from Australia.  She was fantastic and gave us a tremendous amount of history as we toured the old city concentrating on the Gothic the 1st half, and Gaudi the 2nd.  Later in the day we were also able to meet our niece Jessi to hangout for a bit as well as have dinner.  She’s in Bracelona this summer on a study-abroad opportunity.  

Barcelona Day 2 

We slept in a bit and then I got out for a quick run along the beach. We then purchased a day pass for the hop on hop off bus.  Our first stop was for the Cementiri Est de Poblenou, and then lunch. 
TBC – these are in reverse order but I’ll fix later. 

After lunch we walked along the board walk back to the bus, then jumped on it to the Sagrada Familia – I’ll do that in it’s own blog post!  From there we went to Park Guell, walked up and up and saw some amazing views.  Then we had a bit of an aventure getting to Tibidabo.  The phone said it was a 28 minute walk, which would have been faster than going back to our bus stop to get to the next stop, so we started walking.  We realized it looked to be much further so we jumped in a taxi which took us a long long ways.  There really wasn’t much to do a Tibidabo so we took a bus — a super crowded bus down the mountain.  From there it was a “subway tram” ride down to a normal sub way station, and from there a few trains toget to our bus.  The bus ride in was quite long and we were the only two on the bus, sitting up top in the front from to try to stay warm.  We grabbed some food at a Mediterranean place on La Rumbla, then some dessert, and finally got back to the hotel. 

Barcelona Day 1, part I & II

We arrived on the red-eye (neither of us slept much if at all) and then at the hotel around 8:30 a.m. after an easy taxi ride.  Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready, so instead of a nap, we headed out to breakfast and then over to the Picasso museum.  After that we also walked in and around The Cathedral of Barcelona.   We went back to the hotel around 12:30 but still no room, so we went back out.  But now it was raining pretty hard, so we just grabbed a coffee/tea in a small shop to wait a bit longer.  We finally got a call around 1:30 that the room was ready so we headed back over and got a couple of hours of sleep.  Now we should be able to handle a 9 or 10 p.m. dinner like the locals!  🙂


After the nap we went out and had a snack, then explored the area on foot, before eating dinner at Los Caracoles, a place my boss Jon recommended…

2017 Uhwarrie 40


  • I’ve run this 7 out of the last 8 years, so I’ll just bullet point it…
  • Same routine as normal – wake up a few minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off at 3:50, get up, make coffee, make my breakfast to eat on the way over, etc. Load up the car and head out.  This year I picked up Heather and we were on the way to El Dorado Outpost, the shuttle area, by 4:40 a.m.
  • I rode the shuttle over with Tori, her first ultra, and tried to help her remain calm.  Timing was perfect as we arrived, waited for the port-a-loo, and finished just in time to drop the warm clothes and head to the start.
  • Obligatory profile:


  • This year I was in the top 5 or 6 up the 1st climb (a real monster!), until I tripped and fell, and was passed by a couple runners.  I ran with Tim, with a bit of back and forth, from maybe mile 5-18.  I’d make it to the turn in 8th, in 3:28, about 5 minutes faster than last year.
  • The turn was smoother for me this year than last – I went in knowing exactly what I was going to do – drop the vest, keep the arm warmers and gloves, get my one small baggie from the drop bag.  I took off the ipod from my vest before getting all tangled in the headphones like last year.   The only problem was they couldn’t find my drop bag!  Bummer!  Here’s a photo Sam took of me looking sad:

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  • I was determined not to mentally let my missing drop bag get me down.   It had two vfuels and two date coconut rolls, and that’s it.  But it did mean I’d have to fuel on things I’m not used to.   I gave Sam my vest who promised to get it to me at the finish, and took off, feeling good.  I did have to eat a cookie there, which would not have been my 1st choice, and later had a hammer gel which I haven’t had in years.  My stomach was a bit so-so around mile 30-35, but I’m not pinning it on those foods.
  • Around mile 28, I saw this guy in bright orange standing just off the trail.  He looked like a hunter and was staring me down, and it felt a bit odd.  Why was he staring at me so intently??   He finally asked my number and when I said “17” he said “ah, this is for you” and handed me my food!  I really appreciate that he hiked in all the way from the 29 aid station to find me!  Again, at that point I’d already had a few things I normally wouldn’t have eaten.  But as an ultra runner it’s important to be flexible.
  • Somewhere around mile 25, after the 2nd climb up and down Dennis Mtn,  I started feeling the hard effort.  I struggled for the next few hours, not running nearly as much as I wanted to on the ups.  I was slow on the flats.  I was running the downs, but my feet were really starting to hurt.  I had to use a brand new pair of Altra Superior 2.5’s on this run, as the week prior on my last long run, my old one’s ripped!  Ugh!  The Superior has a history of that, but a the same time, I love them.  😦   For some reason this new shoe, whether I didn’t quite have the lacing the way I like or it’s actually different, my feet were shot! (I did verify there was indeed a rock plate in both shoes.)
  • It was frustrating to struggle as much as I was — it was a real suffer fest!  It took me 40 minutes longer on the way back in vs. the way out, but amazingly I was only passed once.
  • Results:  7:43:54, 9th overall:

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  • (I do feel like I was in the turn longer than 32 seconds as the volunteers frantically looked for my drop back, but it still was not nearly as long as last year!)
  • How do I feel about the results?  Well, while I was out there it was disappointing to feel like I fell apart so much, disappointing to take 40 minutes longer on the way in vs. the way out.  But I went in saying anything under 8 would be good, so I am not disappointed.  Plus recovery was very easy – very minimal DOMS for the next couple days was it.

Strava race analysis shows the real problem was mile 27 – 36 or so, and I did pick it back up the last 4.

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  • I mentioned tripping and falling on the first hill, but I went down several times this year and seemed to be kicking roots and rocks more than normal.  For some reason I opted to leave my glasses behind at the last minute.  Legally I can drive without glasses, so my eyes are not that bad, but I have been running in my Oakley prescription glasses almost exclusively for several months.  In hind sight, it was a bad call to not wear them on race day!
  • Gear:  Nike shorts and compression shorts, Injinji toe socks, Altra Superior 2.5’s, Icebreaker 200 short sleeve top, turkey trot arm warmers, Icebreaker gloves, buff, arc’teryx hat, ipod, UD AK pack, one UD bottle.  Dropped the vest at the turn and that was it.
  • Pre-race food:  coffee with HWC, gluten free coconut oat meal with coconut mana, almond butter, part of a ucann mix
  • Fuel:  3x vfuel, 4x coconut date balls, 1 hammer gel, a Uhwarrie cookie or two, boiled potatoes, a few potato chips, a bit of mountain dew, noodle broth at mile 35 — why did I wait so long to have broth, it was awesome!
  • History of my Uhwarrie results:
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
 2016 7:31:30  7/101
 2017 7:43:54  9/94