4 days... and Umstead cometh. I'm ready to run my heart out...
Congrats to Byron and Carl on their perseverance this weekend at Barkley!
3.19: off- (rest day)
3.20: off- (rest day)
3.21: off- (rest day)
3.22: off- (rest day)
3.23: 59 miles in ( actual running time) on the Bartram Trail (run ended at on 3.24). My taper for Umstead had already started; and then, the combination of wonderful spring weather, a full moon, and fresh legs changed my plans…
This Easter Sunday, there was a spur of the moment decision to set out to fulfill a five year dream: a non-stop traverse of the Bartram Trail. Conditions seemed ideal: the Sunday/Monday forecast showed no signs of precipitation; the near-full moon was set to rise at , perfect for a start of the southbound journey.
The trail was fresh in my mind from a four-day stage run back on New Year’s (w/ Brian, Mohammed and Uwharrie). That adventure wetted my appetite for another attempt at a non-stop traverse (possibly as an encore to Umstead). With my fitness peaking and my post-Umstead plans now far from Bartram, it occurred to me that the time to try was now.
Lily, Uwharrie and I drove down from
We reached Wayah in six hours and seven minutes. After refueling, I set out solo into the evening headed toward
I caught a ride with Lily to Buckeye Creek TH, omitting an 11 mile road stretch. It was when I began the long, dark climb up over the Fishhawks. I was well-fed and running strong. If I could maintain a 4 mph pace through the night, it seemed very likely that I could finish this 100 mile traverse in less than 24 hours.
The moon rose to greet me on the ridge. The sky was clear, the wind was blowing, and the temperature was plummeting. I focused on my footing and my pacing. Although my hands were cold, I seemed to be warm enough moving. Atop a rocky outcrop, I saw a brilliant shooting star plunging into the western sky. A beautiful night! I had no idea just how good the conditions were going to be…
This is what plagues me the most when I think back on my decision to quit at Osage overlook. It wasn’t easy. But the longer I sat in the warm car debating it, the easier quitting became. Go figure.
Everything seemed ideal to complete this traverse. Although I was tired, my body felt good. There’s no doubt I could’ve kept going. I decided that I shouldn’t: the remaining 41 miles would’ve taken an irreparable toll on my Umstead performance.
Still, I wonder whether two weeks from now, I’ll wish I placed my priorities elsewhere…
Time will tell.