I had a few days I could sneak away from work for a long weekend & I wanted to run & hike in the mountains. It was a ~11.5 hour drive each way from Michigan, but the Smokies seemed like the best option & they are obviously awesome for trail running & hiking. I drove down Thursday, did elkmont--> clingman's Friday & this on Saturday for a mini training camp.
I did take it easy on a lot of the down hills because I figured my legs were not ready for really running down this much vert.
My watch froze, and the strava recording was recorded with my phone as a back up. So the file on strava report 4.3 miles longer than in reality (strava app on the phone always overestimates distance). I followed the gpx file of Natalie's and accidentally added the one short wrong turn at the 1 mile mark. We both climbed the observation tower too. I was going to skip it since it was cloudy and I was just up there the day before, but since she set the precedent of including it, I didn't want me skipping it to invalidate my potential FKT.
Going into the run, I wasn't sure how long it would take me. I figured ~9.5 hours on the fast end, and maybe as long as 11-12 on the long end. I don't think I actually had to beat the women’s time to get the FKT, but when the day was going pretty well it turned into an extra carrot in the last 10 miles. However I didn't remember what her exact time was and I thought her time was somewhere in the 9hr20min range. No internet during the run to double check. And it was so humid and a little rainy so it was hard to use my phone much. Little did I know I was only going to beat Natalie's time by seconds!! I found out after I got to the parking lot & looked up her time. 😳 That made the finish pretty exciting. Thanks Natalie!
One of the most amazing things is I went over nine hours without a bowel movement. That is incredibly rare for me. I had a lot of caffeine this morning, but did not have any caffeinated foods during the run.
My garmin watch froze ~mile 11. So I had not real feedback on mile splits, HR, etc. But the morning after it came back to life, and apparently it still recorded the whole activity. So I do have heart rate data and accurate splits 😊🤗🎉. That makes me very happy. The Watch recorded 9:09:45. I know I start my phone recording, zip it into my pack, and then start my watch before I takeoff, so ~20 seconds seems about right (20 seconds extra in this recording from my phone).
1922 calories/9.12 hours—> 210.8 calories per hour. That is super low for me, but intensity was also very low a lot of the time. That is awesome. I am sure I overeat on a lot of long sessions.
I carried all my own food (see strava for more details). I started with 1L. Filtered on the stream alongside the paved road at the top. I was a little worried about chemical pollutants from the road, but it hadn't rained in a bit and it looked like most of the water was coming from a natural spring in the hillside or something. I filtered again from deep creek toward the end.
To future attempts: the elevation profile makes it look like the first 7 miles and last 10 miles are gradually uphill & downhill respectively. But that is *not* the case. There are a lot of big up and down hills in those sections as Natalie reported too. And perspective is everything....