So, this weekend I was supposed to be pacing my friend Val Wrenholt at the Grindstone 100 mile endurance race. But thanks to some grandstanding congresscritters, the Forest Service informed the race directors that the race would have to be suspended.
Initiate plan B: The Uptown Throwdown relay in Charlotte, NC. This is a 12-hour relay race in the heart of Charlotte. I signed up on Thursday and joined Team Circuit -- four of us would be alternating 4-mile legs, and I hoped to do about 20 miles.
On race day, it turned on that only one other member of the team could make it -- that meant there were just two of us. I told my teammate that I was only good for about 20 miles either way, and he was okay with that -- we just might be throwing in the towel early.
Weather was nice in the morning but it was looking to be an unseasonably warm day. I went out at what felt like a comfortable pace and found myself leading what looked to be about 10 or 15 teams.
First loop: 3.95 miles, 28:27, 7:12/mile pace
There was a lavish spread of food at the start / finish, and I decided to limit myself to just one donut per loop. I had a chocolate donut, and before I knew it, Chad was done with his loop and I had to go out again.
Second loop: 3.92 miles, 28:15, 7:12/mile pace
This time I decided to try the mini-brownie cupcakes. They were delicious, and since they were mini-size, it wouldn't hurt to have two, would it? And maybe some coffee to wash it down.
Once again, Chad returned quickly and I was back out on the path. It was a fairly narrow greenway along a creek and this time there was some sort of walking event going on and I found myself dodging people, their kids, and their dogs, the entire way. Nonetheless I managed to complete the third loop even faster:
Third loop: 4 miles, 28:15, 7:03/mile pace
When I returned, Chad had negotiated a merger with another team, "Chafing the Dream," and so I wouldn't have to run for another couple hours! I enjoyed hanging out with the group and chatting, and eating even more junk food. The temperature began to get quite warm. I had it at 88 degrees at one point during the day. Finally it was my turn to run again.
Fourth loop: 3.87 miles, 26:56, 6:57/mile pace
Now it was really getting hot, but with the longer breaks, it seemed like I'd be able to maintain my steadily improving pace. I'd run almost 16 miles, and I would put it all out there for one final loop. Unfortunately, for this loop, there was yet another walking event along about a mile and a half of the greenway. It was wall-to-wall people. I took to the grass and dirt alongside the greenway and tried to maintain a 6:40 pace. Somehow I managed quite well.
Fifth loop: 3.92 miles, 26:26, 6:44/mile pace
Overall I ended up running 19.65 miles at an average pace of 7:02 per mile. I'm not sure how our team placed, or even how to account for the fact that the teams had been running separately for almost three hours before merging. But much junk food was consumed, much socializing occurred, and a good time was had by all. Fun way to while away the day!
My Garmin record of the event is below.