Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Post Memorial Day 50k feelings

I did it. I ran my first ultramarathon of the year on Memorial Day and what a race it was. The Trail Factor 50K was my 3rd ultra I've ran, and with 4,915 feet of elevation gain, it was by far the most hilly.

I knew right away this was going to be a tough one. The race started out going uphill for at least a mile (maybe two), but it was the steep climb that stopped most of us in our tracks at about mile 2 that gave me a true taste of a tough trail race. My previous two ultras were relatively flat compared to most other trail runs. I actually selected those precisely because they weren't technical and were without steep climbs and descents. Even with the Trail Factor 50k the elevation profile of the race is very manageable and not too difficult, but of course I did about 97% of my training on the road which doesn't favor you on the trails.

The roads don't prepare you for switchbacks or for winding turns. They don't let you feel the pounding of going downhill at a -7% grade or the sting of rocks, sometimes jagged, seemingly being smashed beneath your feet. They also rarely turn your 7, 8, 9 minute pace into a walk just to get to the top of the climb. I can say all this now and still almost guarantee you that I will still likely do more than 75% of my training (for a trail run) on the roads. Something about the roads just pulls me to them.

The organization of the race was as amazing as the course. There are three race directors that are responsible for the event and many other races put on by Go Beyond Racing (including my next race) and they obviously work very well together. I got to be a spectator during Val's Trail Factor Half Marathon two days before the 50k and the three of them were just on top of their game in every way. Then, when I got to run my race on Monday, I was able to interact with the wonderful volunteers situated throughout the course at key turns and well-stocked aid stations.

I know I'm rambling and that could be either because I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep that I know my body and brain need to fully recover, or because just haven't written consistently in quite a well. Few more things before I let my brain rest after writing this post:

1) So many people asked me before and after the race, "How can you run for that long?"or some variation of this question. It's quite simple really. If you love something, you will do it a lot, right? You will practice it, if it requires practice, until it becomes second nature or you need to challenge yourself to reach the next level. Well, that's what running has been and is for me. I love the heck out of this sport. I love the way it makes me feel and the perspective it gives me in my life. I love talking about it, reading about it, doing it, being around it...I love it all. So when people ask me that question: I just laugh. I really do. Because my why is so basic and simple: I do what I love. That should be the go-to response for most people regardless of the activity, right?

2) My race nutrition. I opted to not eat anything before the race as I don't eat anything before my training long runs and it works out best for me. All in all, I had about 50-52 ounces of water supplemented with electrolytes (Nuun or GU Brew that was provided), 2 1/2-3 small PB&J's provided at the aid stations, a few nuts, about 3 slices of orange, and about 1 banana which was actually several eighths I grabbed throughout the aid stations. Oh, and 2 GU's and half a Clif Blok sleeve. So that's about 1,100 calories I consumed in food and energy gels to sustain my body through the probably near 4,000 calories my body used to cover the distance.

3) Definitely wearing nipple protection during my next ultra (Pick Your Poison- running the 12 hour solo option on a 10 mile looped course around a lake). The 50k was my first experience coming close to bleeding nipples and I was not a fan of the pain. Probably took my shirt off just in time to prevent my right one from actually opening and starting to bleed.

4) ?? Nothing left I guess. Brain is fried!

Gotta get back into the whole blogging thing!

Happy Running everyone!

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