|About a minute after I finished.|
Overall, I was ahead of my schedule which was really way ahead of my anticipated time. It was really hot. I dumped water on my head for the first time in my life. (I also dumped it on my head for the 5th time in my life.) Not only did I run my first ultramarathon in my life but I also ran it on an injured knee.
Anything over the distance of a marathon is considered an ultramarathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles and a 50k is 31.1 miles. The furthest I ever ran before today was 26.2 miles. The 2nd furthest was 20.22 miles.
My goal for the race was to finish before the cutoff of 7 hours. Officially I got 5:21:10. My best possible "plan" had me finishing at 5:21:59. I mentioned that my plan was entirely too fast and there was no way I'd finish that fast. I was pretty close. At the start of the race, we were told there were 75 runners, 20 of which were female. The youngest was 22 and the oldest was 69 but there were 4 69-year olds. I came in 41st overall ( and was 43rd going into the last lap as seen in the lap results).
Before the race I'd observe others and they seemed way more hardcore than me. They had a bunch of gear, spare shoes, coolers. Many racers had family members there.
We ran a little loop around the parking lot then out on the loop but came back on the little cutoff road. Then after that road, we turned left and continued on the loop. Therefore the first loop was 6.1 miles. Then 5 mile loops after that. I didn't manually hit split at 1.1 so I could only be close to the actual loops. I could get mile splits so I attempted my loop splits with that. I didn't fully add up my numbers while running but just knew based on feel that my 2nd loop was faster than my first and that my third loop was even faster. Then looking at the data, it shows that too. (The map is at the bottom of this post. It looks the like North Park always does. You can't really tell the differences.) The official results have the real splits.
Most people seemed to be running with running groups. I didn't have one to start. I did not warm up first so I wasn't in the groove until the 2nd loop. People all seemed to know each other. I could overhear people at the beginning saying the names of all the runners ahead of them. Pointing them out by their attire and saying first and last names. I thought this was a little crazy.
The first loop was slow and steady. At the very beginning, everyone was together and it was a little fast. I could feel how fast it was but then when I finished the mile at just about 9 minutes, I knew I had to slow it down. It was kind of chilly to start and I thought I could have had on gloves for that part of it. It was 46 degrees at the start of the race. Some people had on hats and some had on gloves. Almost everyone had on shorts. I wore a long sleeve shirt on top of my tank top for the first lap. Right around the 2nd mile my knee started to hurt. I thought about this a lot because the previous week I ran 10 miles and my knee didn't even start hurting until the 7th mile. I also ran 2 on Thursday with no knee pain. When it started hurting, I actually thought that it probably all in my head and I was imagining it early. A few weeks earlier I was told to rest and I had a 20 mile race that weekend. The only water stop on route was at 2.5 miles in. I got gatorade. I was happy it was orange. I stopped to drink it there because I remembered the strict no littering rule. When I stopped, I realized auto pause was on so the 20 sec or so that I was stopped, the time was not going. This made me mad. I wanted my watch time to be exactly what the official time would be.
After the first lap, I thought of taking off the long sleeve shirt. I figured I'd wait until I met Sarah for that. I couldn't believe I only ran 1 loop out of 6 by this point. There were only a couple spectators. It was kind of hard mentally to think how hard the first loop was and how I had 5 more of them. I had never run 5 loops there ever and I had 5 more to go. After the first loop, I noticed my watch time and the clock time were 30 seconds different. I guess I stopped for 30 seconds at both water stops.
The 2nd loop I got more in the groove. I ate my first 3 gummies. I got gatorade again. I ran the entire thing. Along the short stretch on Babcock Blvd, the cement sidewalk really hurt my knee. I was starting to run with a limp. Of course it got all mental here and I thought there was no way I'd finish. Once that .25 mi was done on that road it was time to run up hill and surprisingly the uphill didn't hurt my hip much at all. I was no longer running with a limp. It made me feel better. I ran the entire loop and was feeling pretty good considering everything. I was still going pretty good even though some time in this loop I felt a blister on my middle toe on my right foot. I felt that once or twice before and ended up with a blister but I finished the runs those days so I figured I could push through. I have learned over the years that running with pain is much less of a big deal than it used to be. I often thought about how back in the day I wouldn't have finished the last .5 miles of a 3 mile run for pains and now I get pain way worse and run an entire 20 miles with that pain. (I might be a little crazy though.)
Sarah joined me for the 3rd and 4th loops. I actually didn't know until the previous night that she'd do it. She mentioned a few weeks earlier she'd do it. Then her husband was going to try to run 20 that day so he was going to pace 20 with me. That didn't work out and I thought she was going to be out too. Originally Jen was going to run the 4th and 5th loops with me so she'd be able to take pictures at the end.
Going in to the 3rd loop the guy in 2nd tripped over me. The first place guy was on my right and yelled "on the right" so I didn't shift to the right but then the guy in 2nd came up on the left. Spectators were were yelling "racers coming" but I was a racer, so I had assumed they were just yelling at the other 10 or so just random runners that were coming through at that point. The guy that ran into me almost fell. He definitely flung himself forward. I did the same thing. His shoe hit my calf in what felt like really hard. Those shoe laces sure stung. My calf stung from that for a good hour or so.
Sarah was waiting at the parking lot when I turned into the boathouse. She had on a fleece long sleeve shirt and I immediately told her that she'd be hot. Then we stopped at my car to get rid of my long sleeve shirt that was tied around my waist for the past mile or so. Again my watch auto paused and I did not like this. I feel like stopping at the car and stopping to get water wasted a full minute here. I forgot to look at the official clock when running through though.
Originally, Sarah thought I'd start intervals for the 3rd loop, but I had told her I wasn't sure when I'd start those. We ran until the water stop. I think this is the time the guy at the water stop offered me gatorade and then asked if I wanted water to dump on my head. I guess I looked that miserable. (It might have been the next loop though. I forget exactly.) I texted Jen to give her a status update. We were ahead of schedule and I was letting her know so she wouldn't be late. She was planning to arrive early but I wanted to make sure she was there on-time. I also texted her "I'm a machine." because that is what Sarah kept telling me. We ran solid all the way until 14.9 miles and we walked there before needing to but that was where the cement was on Babcock Blvd that caused me hip pain before. I knew we'd walk it. We walked for .15. The entire cement strip was longer than that but I didn't want to walk too long or I'd have a split slower than 3 minutes and I did not want that. The split was 2:58. Good thing we started running when we did.
When we came in for the 4th loop, I realized I passed the halfway point and didn't even notice it. I got water at the stop that was right at the lap mark. I had Sarah take the short cut route to give her a little break. She wasn't used to running 10 miles. She was also used to running 4 minutes and walking 1 so running straight through was a struggle for her. I didn't treat my pacers well I guess. She got a couple minute break while I ran a half mile myself. I had one of our slowest splits on my own (2:24) so it was really good that I was running with her. Even though we weren't talking a lot, just having someone there pushed me. I kind of kept forgetting to eat my gummies but ate them on the back half. We stopped at the spigot to get some water. Getting liquids every 2.5 miles wasn't enough for how hot it was. The heat was awful. At the water stop the guy commented to Sarah that I was fast when Sarah asked for water too. (Or maybe him commenting about it was on the first loop around with her. I might have to ask her.) We did intervals on this loop. It worked out that when we met up after the shortcut road it was just after a beep so we walked for .07 then we ran until 2 more beeps so we ran for .43. It wasn't quite 4:1 intervals we were used to but it worked well and I didn't have my watch set to intervals. It also timed pretty well for the water stops. We ran a little long to be able to walk on the cement on this lap and still continued with the intervals. The few minute breather helped Sarah able to finish it out with me. But actually she said at the top of the hill near the boathouse she'd drop back and I could continue to run up ahead and continue on. She just didn't think she had it in her to finish it up. When we were about .4 away from the boathouse, we hear Jen yell hi to us out our car window. I got very concerned at this point. I didn't say anything but thought I might end up having to wait for her. Right before this point (at mile 20.6) I realized how it just got so much harder for me. The ankle strap for timing felt like a weight; It sucked.
Word on the street is that after 18-20 miles, you run out of glycogen. (See the end of the post for more details.) I hit the wall as they say a tad later than is usually said. Usually they say energy gels (gu, energy chews, etc) are taken to avoid this. Well in the first 20 miles, I ate 10 energy chews. You are supposed to eat 5-10 each hour of running according to package. I am the worst at nutrition and it was showing. I just couldn't bring myself to eat anymore. The gummies would stay in my mouth and a half a mile later, I realized I didn't chew it.
I ran in and couldn't find her. I went to my car to take Advil. I drank water. I also took everything out of my belt because I had to swap belts to my water belt. Originally Jen was going to run the 4th loop so I would have already had my water belt. I was a little stressed to not have it that loop because of the heat. I know I'm bad at nutrition but with it being in the 70s, I should have been having more. Well, after all that and finding Jen we were on our way. I felt like this took about 3 minutes. It wasn't as smooth of a transition as I would have liked. I didn't know how to prepare my pacers in advance so I knew it wouldn't be seamless and swapping my keys and phone from one belt to another would take time but it just took took long. There was also talking but I wanted to get on my way. I knew as soon as I ran the next 150 yards I'd have a water stop that I'd be stopping at. Sarah kept telling me that she'd have to warn Jen that I was going to go fast but I kept answering that it just got so much harder so I wouldn't be fast at all.
I quickly glanced at the clock time and it was either 6 or 8 minutes slower than my watch. Boy was this annoying. I will remember to turn off auto pause next time. I mean it is good to see my actual running time but I want my watch to match the clock. I want to know how long I stop at the water stops. I know all the volunteers are trying to be helpful but I felt like their talking just slowed me down. I had to catch my breath in order to drink and I'm a super slow drinker so I wanted to get started. The aid station right at the start/finish had pretzels and candy and all kinds of food but I just stuck with my energy chews and their water/gatorade. I don't know why I was worried about being quick. My goal was just to finish before the cutoff. (OK that was just the goal I told everyone. I guess my goal is always to finish the fastest I can finish and I didn't feel I was doing that.)
During the 5th lap, I realized people eat the gels because they are just quick to consume. The energy chews take too long to eat and the further into the race I get, the harder it is to actually consume them. All the laps were definitely blurring together by this point. The only thing helping me was having different pacers and then trying to figure out if it was the first or second loop with that person. I stopped at the spigot on the side of the trail to drink some water and to put water over my head. I wasn't going to stop here but the water bottles that Jen brought for me were all still frozen solid and I couldn't get any water out of them. The intervals just didn't work out to be the same timing they were with Sarah on the 4th loop because of when I got water and when I met up with Jen so I couldn't mentally figure out when to run. I couldn't mentally do much of anything. Jen would ask me questions about pace on each loop. I couldn't figure out my pace for 1 mile so I couldn't figure out the pace on 5 of those together. I knew my .25 splits but even forgot to look sometimes. I'm not used to so many laps so not used to so many numbers. It was all just getting too confusing in my head. There were a few hills I knew I walked the pervious lap based on our timing so I walked them again but this time I walked a few steps further. I just wanted more recovery. During my walks, I still walked fast but I swung my arms way more than normal. The more tired I got, the more my arms would swing.
When we were coming up the last hill before the boathouse I asked Jen to cut off the edges I have to run to refill 2 of my water bottles. Even though they were frozen at the start, I drank a good portion of them. I knew I'd want them later. Since she was just a pacer she could cut it off. Running in to the boathouse I saw Sarah. That made me so happy. I couldn't believe she was there. She said she would go home and try to come back for the finish. I didn't know she'd be there though. I asked her if I could give her my keys and she could get my camera to get pictures at the finish. She would. I had to get my keys out of my pouch. Jen ran again and I was giving Sarah my keys. I forgot to tell her about the continuous feature but at least she'd get some. Jen ran ahead and the table was crowded so she didn't even get them filled by the time I got there. Or she did and everyone was just talking to me. Oh that stressed me out. I was surprised she wasn't 100% ready for me since I even did the key handoff.
When finishing the 5th lap, there were a lot more people at the aid station. I was putting my waters back in my belt and RL said hi. Someone else said hi at the water stop too. I wish I was better with names because I recognized him from the runners group downtown. I knew his name back then but now I don't remember at all. At the aid station, all the volunteers and runners who had already finished seemed really helpful. They were asking if I had nutrition and everything. I probably looked so dead that they were concerned. They probably thought I was delirious but really 4 people were talking to me at once and that stresses me out on a normal occasion. RL told me Adrienne was going to be disappointed. I forget why. Maybe that she wasn't there to see me. (I'm not sure. Too many people talking at once. Remember.) I just wanted to get moving and be done. 1 more loop left!
Either in the 5th or 6th loop, my garmin kept giving me errors at each lap interval. Since I was running, it was too hard to read. It was stressing me out. It said older laps would be deleted and that the lap memory was filling up. I had no idea what this meant but it was freaking me out. I thought I'd have to remember my splits or something. (I learned later that it would delete old lap intervals from previous days of running and you should delete your old stuff.) It still gave me my splits but since there was the warning I only got to see the split time for a second instead of about 10. It was rough going.
I knew the last lap would be HARD because I never ran longer than 26.2 miles. On my Garmin I hit 26.2 miles in 4:14 which was pretty impressive to me but I think the time was actually 4:20 or so because of the auto pause on my garmin. I remember Jen asking me what my marathon split was but she asked me at 26.14 so I wasn't even at a marathon yet. My "goal" for the last lap was mile splits of 11:26 because that is what my slowest mile was for the 20 mile race a few weeks back. I had to walk way more than expected on the last lap. I actually walked at places I didn't "have" to walk but thought I should walk because I had so much more to go and it was all just getting so hard. My breathing didn't like it. I couldn't talk to Jen. I wasn't going super straight. My knee hurt pretty bad. My hips both hurt. My feet hurt. My calf hurt from that other runners shoe. My splits were very slow. I finally started playing bonus seconds. My goal was 2:52 for 11:26 pace. We had some really bad splits that were over 3 but then we'd have one that was 2:33 to make up for it. We were going pretty good. My watch was beeping at different times because it wasn't in sync with Jen's so her splits ended up with worse times because I'd try to time it that a walk went over 2 different intervals to help out my goal of not having splits over 3 minutes. I had 2 splits over 3 minutes prior to the last lap and one of those was only 3:01. Then I only had 2 in the last lap. But one was 3:21. Oh man that was so bad. The split before that was 2:33 though so I guess I took it too fast. The one after was 2:48. I only mostly played Bonus Seconds. I didn't even tell Jen about it after. I didn't talk about it because it was just too hard to talk. I made us walk A LOT so I'm surprised my times weren't slower. My stride was small. I hope I never "run" that slow again. On the last lap there were other racers. I saw more this lap then other laps. We'd pass each other at different parts. We were all struggling. I think I ended up passing one person. I tended to pass people but take longer at the water stops than them because I couldn't drink fast enough so then they'd pass me.
The warning on my garmin was really stressing me out the entire time too. My Garmin should not be what causes stress. It was not needed. My last lap was SLOW. But I anticipated it even slower. Jen kept saying I'd get another wind and run it in hard. She was wrong. I guess the last split was good but the rest not so much. Even when the finish was in sight it was just so far away. Before we got to the boathouse, Jen was asking if she should run in with me or what. I had no idea since I didn't see other finishers. I'm so glad she was there the last lap. She was going to run laps 4 and 5 but I'm glad I had someone there for 6 or I would have probably just walked the entire thing. There wouldn't have been much motivation to finish. Lots of times I think I am going as fast or as far as I can but really I'm not. I am just going and not pushing super hard.
Coming in to the finish Jen pulled back slightly and I finished ahead of her. She ran until the finish line but didn't cross it. There was a race photographer there and I can't wait to see his pictures. He took my picture on a lap or two too. Even when the finish was about 15 yards away it felt like an eternity to get there. I couldn't believe it. Sarah got a few pictures at the end. The one she got of me from behind is the only picture I've ever liked from behind while running.
I'll do a separate post about my training and my projected times. Also one with the professional photos.
After the race I had gatorade and water. Then a little later a slice of pizza. Then 2 donuts.
More information is below along with pictures and graphs. Sorry for the overload in this post.
|Dave left me a Good Luck note |
but Poly tried to tell me it was from her.
|Coming in to finish. That was my max stride by that point.|
|That finish line may look close to you but it too far away for me.|
|Me with RL after the race|
|After the race with Jen and Sarah.|
After I got home I noticed the back of the medals. They were pretty nice.
They gave everyone that registered a program that had all the runners names in it. I have never seen that before.
|Calorie Burn - You can tell lots of walking was involved the second half with all the dips.|
|Physical Activity for the day.|
|Steps for the day. Usually I barely get this many steps in a week.|
|I got A LOT of new personal bests too.|
I sure wrote a lot but I bet later I'll think of a million other things I should have said.
From Wikipedia to help explain: Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns rapidly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 18-20 miles worth of glycogen in their bodies. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then obtain energy by burning stored fat, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to "hit the wall". The aim of training for the marathon, according to many coaches, is to maximize the limited glycogen available so that the fatigue of the "wall" is not as dramatic. This is accomplished in part by utilizing a higher percentage of energy from burned fat even during the early phase of the race, thus conserving glycogen.
Carbohydrate-based "energy gels" are used by runners to avoid or reduce the effect of "hitting the wall", as they provide easy to digest energy during the run. Energy gels usually contain varying amounts of sodium and potassium and some also contain caffeine. They need to be consumed with a certain amount of water. Recommendations for how often to take an energy gel during the race range widely.
See my post with the professional photos.
See my post with the professional photos.