Linville Gorge from the summit of Table Rock

Linville Gorge from the summit of Table Rock

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Weymouth Woods 100K

This won't be the race report I hoped to have written as a severe stomach virus the night before the race pushed me into a DNF and a very near DNS. Hoping to salvage something of the three-hour drive and hotel room, I thought maybe I could struggle through the start and get feeling better but it was not to be. I completed three of the fourteen laps and walked 90% of the third lap... Anyway, in the end I did spend enough time at the race and on the course to at least give you an idea of what to expect.

The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the Weymouth Woods State Park Headquarters. It's a nice facility that is open to the runners and you literally walk/run right by it each time you complete a loop so if you run into trouble, get chilled, etc... you can go inside to recover. Marie Lewis made her debut as an RD this year and did an excellent job, though she was apparently too reserved to do the starting line announcements. To ease early congestion, they have you start on the entrance road and run by (but not across) the start/finish line. It's the only time you are on pavement other than being on the sidewalk in front of the visitor's center. There is a drop bag tent near the start/finish area, but if you get there early and are strategic, you can put your car close to where you enter the woods, just past the visitor's center.

The trail is wide enough to support two wide running and sometimes three wide, though your shoulders might bump. There are roots but not really any rocks to speak of. What might be most problematic over the course of a 100K is the sand. Now I know why it's called the sandhills. Scattered in spots throughout the 4.47 mile loop are patches of soft, beach-like sand that you'll definitely notice as they drain your momentum. The elevation chart may not bear this out, but it felt like the first half of the loop was mostly downhill and in the second half, you were primarily ascending back to the visitor's center. There was not a lot of elevation change as a whole.

Aside from the distance (ten 10-Ks!) I think the toughest part of this race might be the loops. I've always found it difficult to zone out in an event that involves multiple circuits of a loop course. The Medoc Mountain Marathon was only three loops and that third one really began to get to me. Some people, however, prefer this because instead of 62.5 miles, they just focus on 14 laps. I guess I'm just more of a point-to-point person. I'd rather not see the car waiting for me each time I pass the start/finish line.

I regret that I did not pay closer attention to the food they had available as my stomach let me know in no uncertain terms that I would not be eating any of it. However, I know they had peanut butter and jelly, some candy, bagels, soft drinks, Gatorade, water and I believe some things like pretzels. I was also told there would be pizza, but that probably along after I was finished.

I had never been to this area of the state before, except a bit farther south for The Boogie races. If you plan to come to this event, don't hesitate to bring along a significant other. Southern Pines is just a stone's through away with a lot of stores (and of course, golf.) They don't really need to be there for you the entire race, so they could see you off and then go spend some time looking around Southern Pines. A bit further away, but still close by, is the Asheboro Zoo and Seagrove is also in the area, famous for its pottery (and annual pottery festival.)

If I can get over my loop aversion, I may give this race another shot. I remember thinking as I was at Salem Lake the week earlier that I would rather do their 50K course twice (four out-and-backs) than fourteen loops but that should not discourage anyone from considering this event for their first (or fiftieth) 100K.

Oh, the shirt was a long sleeve technical shirt and they gave us a tobaggen also. The finisher's awards were pottery.

Weymouth Woods 100K

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