Here are just a few things I have been thinking about the last few days after my first 50k. I wanted to get these written down so I could read them again before my next race. Some of these are pretty basic stuff that I have already known but never paid much attention to. Others are new things that were a revelation to me during or after the event.
Food & Water Intake
I thought I had the food intake down after a few recent long runs. I was wrong. Before the race I bought 30 gels. I wanted to take about 2-3 per hour plus what food I could pick up off the aid stations. Even after the race I though I had the food part or running licked. But in looking back I now don’t think I did very well. I ended up only taking 8 GUs the entire 6+ hours. One of them I took right before we started. So that means I really only had 7 gels. I almost need another watch that buzzes me every 20 minutes to take a gel.
In addition to gels I ate no more than 2.5 PB&Js the entire race. The first lap I took two quarter squares at each aid station. Looking back now I don’t think I eat very many the second lap. Maybe a half to three-quarters of a sandwich the entire last 15 miles.
I drained my 1.5 liter bladder on the first lap. I also had a good number of Gatorade and Heed Dixie cups at each aid station. I only peeed one time on the side of the trail when no one was around. That was a quarter into the second lap. One time I felt pretty bloated from the liquids on the second lap. On the second lap I drained about 3/4 of my water bladder plus one full bottle of Gatorade just before the last 3 miles. It seemed to feel okay but I certainly did sweat much more the first half. I was also working harder on the first lap based on heart rate. I also took about 6 orange quarters. Those were so good!
I have never taken salt tabs before. I was surprised how big they were. I took two at two different aid stations on my last 15 mile lap. Both times they gave me abdomen pains. A few people told me to take them with food. Of course, as I already mentioned, I was not eating a lot the last 15 mile lap.
I’m in 25k Shape
I ran the first half of the race without much issue at all. I felt pretty good in fact. If I ended the race at the 25k mark I would have felt just fine and not needed much recovery at all after the race. I certainly could have pushed harder if I did not have to do another 25k to finish. After looking at my heart rate and speed the second 25k it dropped significantly. As soon as I left the halfway point in fact. I did not even have the energy give my normal sustained 9:00 – 9:15 pace. I couldn’t raise the heat rate to give a decent effort. I had to employ a run then walk, then run, then walk, routine to finish the 50k the last lap.
I desperately need to get comfortable running 20 miles straight at my normal pace or quicker. When I can do that then I will have a lot more confidence in my racing ability. More longer training runs are in order!
I have the mindset of an ultra runner
When the day had ended and we were all tucked into bed at the hotel Terra, my wife, asked me if I had a great sense of accomplishment by completing my first 50k. I though about it and said, “No, all I can think about now is how in the heck am I ever going to run a 50 mile race?”
The 50k was hard and I have several more to do this year but I am looking past the 50k at next year. I want a 100 miles race in two years. I want a 50 miles race next year! The 50k hurt bad but I am not afraid of that pain. I am an introvert and this plays well to the racing/running long distance mindset. If my body can only match my mindset then I will be in good shape. Pun intended! I may have the mind of an ultra runner but I have a lot of work to do to have the endurance of an ultra runner.
I race better with other people
This might seem like a no brainer but the times I did latched on to people, whether they knew it or not, I ran better and easier. The times I let people pass me I gave up. Especially the last lap. The time I met Michael on the trail and introduced myself I really wish I would have attempted to keep up with him longer. Note taken for next race. Get in where you fit in and make it a little more social and I will do much better next race.
I won’t be very successful if I can’t lose another 10 pounds
I downed 20 pounds from last year from running. I need to drop another 10 and get lighter still. This will be a huge benefit to me in the long races and training runs. This will come but not without starting to do 50 mile weeks. I have yet to break that nut consistently. Focus on the 50 miles weeks and the weight will drop for sure. I know I have a sub 6 hour 50k in me. It is just a matter of time but the weight loss needs to pick back up.
Running with a pack v.s. water bottles
I ran the race with my Nathan Endurance pack. I am wondering if I really need to have a pack for the 50k distance. Most experienced ultra runners don’t use a pack at that distance. I have posted before about running with a water bottle in my hand. It drive me nuts. Still, I am going to pick up two bottles this week and start training with them more. Something big enough that I can have 10 gels in the pockets of the water bottle handles would be a better option I think at the 50k distance. The weight of a full 1.5 liter back is a lot. Even if I had to refill the bottles at each station I’d be better off losing the pack weight with full water in it.
Running in the Altra Lone Peaks
All I can say is I love them! Even after getting them wet at the knee-high water crossing in the 50k and having to immediately do the hardest climb of the course, on all fours, they performed well beyond my expectations. I will be making an update on my thoughts of the Lone Peaks in the next few days with more details.
There is no point racing unhappy. Several people told me to “Race happy” on Daily Mile. When the race was its worst and I had nothing left I forced myself to smile. I really did, if you were in the wood watching me you might thing I was a little crazy when I did this. But every time I did things got better. Keep smiling!
I was not expecting the leg pain post race. It started within 15 minutes of when my legs stopped moving and the race ended that the pain was intense! Nothing like I have ever experienced before. I don’t know if this is normal or a result of being 6’2” and 202 but WOW is all I can say.
It was not foot pain. I never even got a single blister in my Altra Lone Peaks. It was not shin splint pain or pulled calf pain either. It was between my ankles and the mid calf. It lasted a good 2 hours after the race at an intense level. I almost did a little man cry from it. I wonder if compression socks would help this? It won’t hurt to try them I guess.
Having Terra and the kids at the race was great. I can’t imagine how empty it would be without having them cheer me on, ringing their cow bells, and getting me water and food. I am going to get my son registered for 5k trail races this summer at a few of my events. Even Terra said she would like to try training for a race. We just might turn into a trail racing family in the near future.
Well I think that is about it. I know his is another long post but maybe someone else might pick up a thing or two from it. If you have any comments or suggestions please post a them below.