Sunday, January 13, 2013

Uncle Uwharrie Smacks Me

Whack! Uncle Uwharrie towered over me, staring down at my broken carcass. I had deserved the smack to the back of my head, so I couldn't even complain about the pain.

"Boy, don't you EVER come out here thinkin' it's gonna be easy!" he snapped. "You gotta come out here with a mind of steel. You gotta embrace the pain this place gives you. You gotta use that pain to get through!"

Uncle Uwharrie was right of course. Cruel, but right. I had forgotten how hard and unforgiving Uwharrie could be. I had been blinded by my own hubris. Running crazy miles in Umstead had somehow fooled me into thinking, I could run equally well in Uwharrie.

Ha! Not even close!
After more than 5 hours of Uwharrie "running" in preparation for my planned attempt to complete the 40 mile Uwharrie Mountain Run, I was broken, both mentally and physically. Granted, I was still moving, crawling up the hills and shuffling along with a painful jog where I could manage, but everything was hurting. The trail had slowly beaten my body to a near standstill. The only thing that spurred any speed in my shuffle was the sight of some fresh bear scat a few miles from the trail head, and the safety of my car. But even that adrenaline rush was washed away in less than a mile by the endless stream of pain flowing up through my body from the hard, stoney ground of Uwharrie. Calling Uwharrie unforgiving would be a great kindness.

Mentally, I had totally given up. I promised myself that the first thing I would do when I got home was to email the race coordinator and request to drop back to the 20 miler. Or maybe I wouldn't even show up for the race at all! Yeah, screw this place and screw the race through it!

Luckily, having a couple of experienced 40 milers (Brandy and Heiko) along for the "fun" of a Uwharrie training run made a huge difference in my post run mental recovery. Their encouragement, plus a couple of good beers washed away the doubts later that evening. I think I can actually finish the 40 mile race! Yeah, the last 15 miles are going to hurt like Hell, but I'm more prepared to deal with that now. Not that I'm actually ready for this beast of a race, but I'm hoping Uncle Uwharrie's smack was just the medicine I needed to pull me through.