Uwharrie 102.5M - Troy, North Carolina
Elevation Gain:  17,420'
October 24, 2015 - After my vacation in the southwest, training on some seriously
technical, vertical, beautiful trails I was looking forward to a good showing at the first in
a series of hundreds I aimed to take on.  Uwharrie is special because of the people
involved.  The RD's - Amanda and Dan Paige - are just a couple of my favorite people;
having helped a bit last year the event just has a warm place in my heart, despite the
fact it is one of the more brutal courses I have undertaken to run a century race on.

The pre-race gathering was just nice, relaxing with local friends and some from a distance
I hadn't seen in awhile.  Sleeping in the truck at the start had me right ready to pull on
my shoes and shorts and toe the starting line at 0600, with great expectations.  Just 67
runners in the 100K or 100M headed out in the pre-dawn darkness, immediately getting
into queue on the single track trail leading out of the Wood Run TH parking area.  I
purposefully held back to start last, a minute or so behind the rest, with a plan to just
lollygag awhile to let the field stretch out a bit.  The early running was easy as I worked
my way past other lollygaggers, enjoying the camaraderie that makes this sport so

Weaving my way through a couple queued up bottlenecks I was where I wanted to be in 
the field by the time I reached the Crossroads aid station at mile 6.  My drop bag was
well supplied, so I grabbed a fresh bottle of Ultragen and continued on at a comfortable
pace in the dawn's early light.  Focussing on my posture and a shortened stride I tried
to keep on my toes and glide around the obstacles on this rocky, rooty trail.  The thing
that makes Uwharrie so formidable is not long, tough climbs or descents, but the
relentless rocks and roots and changes of direction that demand utmost focus to avoid
a mishap.  For one lap that focus is not too challenging; given the distance requires five
laps of the 20.5-mile distance, it becomes mentally exhausting to keep alert to the
fluctuations in the course.

Despite hitting the ground a couple times on the first go-round and four nature breaks,
I still managed a lap time of 4:50 without feeling any duress from the tempo.  With a 
quick turn-around the second lap began with the same cadence, but soon degraded when
I found myself alone for a period of time, losing my concentration a bit due to mental
weariness.  Travis Alfrey caught up and we paced off each other for half a lap with good
conversation, keeping the mind occupied so the body could relax into what I refer to as 
an all-day shuffle.

Travis and I split after I made a quick turn again at Crossroads and I concluded the 
second lap alone in a lapsed time of 10:15, a bit off the mark, but comfortable.  I passed
a lot of runners in the closing five miles of the second lap; people were slowing to the
demands of the task, but I was feeling perky.  The legs were light and easy, breathing
was not labored, even on the climbs, energy levels and hydration were good.  All systems
were encouraging as I headed out on the third lap, still able to focus on posture and leg
turn.  I was aiming to keep up my tempo to get as much distance as I could in the third
lap before requiring a headlamp.  After summiting the highest point of the route at about
50 miles I finally went to a hand-held flashlight for the descent back into Dutchman's

The trail was a bit loose with leaves and dry dirt, but becoming clearer with traffic.  On my
way down the steep descent I lost my footing ever so slightly and tweeked my left
knee as I overcompensated.  This time I didn't fall, but saving myself resulted in a sharp
pain in the connective tissue of the anterior part of my left knee, enough that I had to
revert to a careful walk down the rest of the hill. At the bottom I continued to walk to
gauge the damage.  It did not feel good to run on it, so I walked the rest of the way to
Kelly's Kitchen to avoid aggrevating the pain in my ligaments.

To walk the rest of the race to the finish was certainly within my ability.  I had walked 
three miles to get to Kelly's Kitchen, without a single person passing me, which meant
everyone else was probably walking.  I was 14 hours into the event and had 22 hours to
finish.  It was a no-brainer to stop.  I don't do these ultras to walk; I came to run.  I had
a hundred miles in me, but exercised discretion over valor.  DNF's don't bother me; with
three more hundreds coming up I opted to avoid further aggrevation and come back to do
it again.  I would like to have earned one of those buckles, but was just not willing to 
walk to do it.  I had fun.  I had an excellent effort going until I sustained an injury.
Super people; super volunteers.  All smiles on this end.