Umstead 100 Mile Race

Racing the Umstead 100 this year I had two goals.  One was to break the USATF Record for 60-64 year olds which I have done twice but not on a certified course.  Two was to enjoy a trail race which I have heard was fun and welcoming.

As Spencer and I set out to return back to North Carolina we were excited.  I did work all day and changed out flight to Thursday Night so that got us into Raleigh at 1:00 am.

We were so tired because our normal bedtime is 9pm!  Off to the rental car and hotel and in bed at 2:30am.  We were up and ready to shop for all the necessities for the race.  At 4:00pm we were at the Race Packet pickup where I met Elis Cellan Schaasse {another Topo Ambassador } and we spent about 15 minutes chatting and getting to know each other.  She was vibrant, beautiful, and full of joy.  It was such a pleasure to meet her!  Then I picked up my race packet and we went to the race briefing.

Back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.  Saturday, I awoke at 3:15 and started getting ready.  The park opened at 4:45 so off we went.  Then the doubt about the race set in.  It was 45 degrees and raining.  Not sprinkling but raining.  I hate running in the rain and I hate the cold.  Most people are fine with the cold but I am not.  The race started at 6:00am and off I went with a woman I had been talking to shouting to me as I went, “have fun”.  Being an, “older” athlete the vision I have at night is not very good and the rain made it hard to see.

I had decided I was going to take my first 12.5 loop easy and get to know the course.  I was able to hand off my head light after the first loop and I looked at Spencer and said, “This course is hard”.   The course is a total of 8,000 feet of climb, with crushed gravel, bridges {wood}, horse, bike, and running trail.   The rain continued and poured at points.  I remembered thinking, “I am not having fun”.

When my mind starts to go into the negative mode I stop myself and try and find the positive side.  Just then I had run 42 miles and the first positive thing that came into my head was how dry my feet were.  Even though I was wearing a rain proof jacket it had started leaking and all my clothes wear soaked.  My feet however were dry.  I had a pair of  waterproof Topo Shoes called hydro venture and yes they did the trick!

Until 48 miles into the race the mud and water went over my ankles and that was the end of the dry feet!  At mile 50 I came into the check point and had been on schedule with my time but I was extremely hypothermic.  I changed into the,” Runventure 2 ” shoes until 75 miles and then my,” magnifly 2″ shoes  to finish the last 25 miles.  The temperature had dropped to 33 with rain turning into sleet and snow.

It took me 45 minutes to change clothes and warm my body temperature.  I then knew I was not going to break any records and my only option was to do the best I could with the conditions.  The aid stations were full of wonder volunteers and the red cross volunteers were the best.  The director Rhonda Hampton was a doll and periodically in the rain I would see her pass me on a bike yelling good job, don’t quit!!! I also saw the assistant race director Joe Lugiano taking pictures and timing.

I finally finished under 24 hours which qualified me for a special buckle.  My time was 23:58:03.  I came in 6th overall female and 40th overall racer.  This was the worse weather ever.

Did I have fun??????????  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a 42% finish for the hundred milers.  The worse finish rate ever in this race according to the statistics.

I think I will stick to the warmer climate races!!!!

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