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:

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 10.02.08 AM.png

  • 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:

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 12.30.22 PM.png

  • (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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 10.04.08 AM.png

  • 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

8 thoughts on “2017 Uhwarrie 40

  1. If I remember correctly, you decided to take some downtime after Hinson and more recently started training in earnest, right? And yet, despite some unforeseen issues, ran almost a PR on the course? That’s pretty awesome dude. Also, I have learned that if an aid station has broth, I should take it. Always. Congrats!

    • Yeah I did take a little bit of a break after Hinson, though not as much as I should have! I still ran with the U13 soccer team I coach during scrimmages, had to run the Eno 11 miler since I’m in the Tough as Trails series, and ran another 8 miles at a school walk-a-thon – all in my time off. 🙂 Then I did a 3 hour mountain bike race and rode about twice as far at 1.5 the speed I had been riding at, and the knee felt it. The knee also felt it from playing goalie with the U13’s and diving for a ball, landing on the knee. So even when I started coming back I had to baby the knee a bit, and ran on flat surfaces much more than trails for a good 6 weeks or so. So all in all, it wasn’t a bad day. I just wish I hadn’t suffered so much. 🙂

  2. Glad you enjoyed the race and did well. I was a volunteer at 5/35 for the 6th year. Glad you enjoyed the chicken soup. In the past we only had instant soup but this year we had real Campbell’s soup and I added extra chicken. The runners all seemed to enjoy the improvement. Thanks for mentioning it.

  3. I ran the 20 this year with my 15 year old son. First time doing that length in over 20 years, first for him ever. We both were impressed by all if you that ran the 40. Inspirational. I appreciate reading this, as it makes it seem more do-able. Thanks for sharing the write-up!

  4. Pingback: 2018 Uhwarrie 20 miler | 2sparrows

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