Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Running My First Ultra Marathon

Since all the holiday hype has calmed down, I thought now would be a good time to finally post my 50K recap!

Back in December I ran my first 50k. This was my biggest race yet!  Having run several marathons in the past, this was the first one I actually (semi) had a training plan for and I think it really reflected that in my performance.

The race called the Seashore Nature Trail Ultra marathon and took place at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.  I ran with my Boston Marathon Running Buddy, David.  Race morning came and deciding what to wear is always a challenge for me. I didn’t want to be too hot or too cold. I tested out the temperature and it was quite windy so I decided with pants, long sleeve, hat, and gloves. That morning when I woke up my knee was bothering me a bit, so I iced it a prayed for the best.

 Soon enough we were off to the race and at the starting line. We told each other to start off conservative as we had a long way to go. While running in the park, the trees blocked the wind and the sun started to come out becoming a great day for a race.  As we continued running I looked down at my watch and I said We are already at ten miles. How is that possible? It did not feel like we ran that far yet. We both were feeling really good. Next we were close to 18 miles and I kept thinking to myself I have not fallen once and that was one of my biggest fears, as I saw others go down along the course. Just as I said that, I took a tumble. It was pretty graceful as it was in a bunch of leaves and I was protected with my pants and gloves. I brushed myself off and I was on the way again. It could have been a lot worse. 

The race was through First Landing State Park so there were several trails we ran numerous times.  Repeating trails in both directions, meant having plenty of aid stations available to us. There were many snacks and drinks to refuel with such as water, sodas, Gatorade, pretzels, chips, m&ms, skittles, pickles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and even turkey and cheese sandwiches. We didn’t even stop at every one, only stopping when we needed to. The volunteers were super nice and always asking what we needed when we stopped. At one aid station I stopped and was asked if I needed my water bottle refilled and I said no. The aid stations were so frequent that it got to the point where I had more fuel in my backpack and water in my bottle than I needed.  I had to start using that so it wasn’t so heavy. I asked my friend, since he has run other ultras, if aid stations were so frequent and he said no. It’s only like this since we repeat the trails, and other races can be point to point.  

Another thing that I thought was super nice is the atmosphere of the Ultra. Every time we past a runner they would say good job. I don’t feel like the Ultras are as competitive as marathons. Soon enough we were nearing the marathon mark and I was still feeling good so I told him we could pick up the pace. And before we knew it, the finish line was in site. I told him that since we started together, we needed to finish together so let’s hold hands crossing the finish line and let them determine who crosses first. After crossing, the timing lady came up to us and said since we were holding hands and crossed at the same time she was going to put me first since I’m a lady. We both got a kick out of that. Later I found out that I finished 4th in my age group and prizes were for the top three only. Oh well, there is always next time, or is there?

For my first Ultra Experience, I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I thought it went great!  It went so well that I don’t know if I would want to do one again because I’m afraid that it won’t go as well.   A few things that I think made for a great experience :

1. Running with my BRB(Best running buddy) made the time fly
2. The weather, couldn’t ask for a better day for a race- Not too cold or hot
3. Had a great training cycle
4. Took it much slower than I am used to running a marathon (therefore I was not sore afterwards)
5. And the best part, no knee pain during the race

Have you ever run an Ultra? Is that on your bucket list?  -L

46 comments:

  1. Congrats Lacey!! Sounds like you guys ran very smart and so glad that you had fun. I have heard that this 50k is great and if I ever decide to do an ultra, this would be tops on my list. So happy you had a great day! -C

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    1. Thanks Christine! It was alot of fun. Wish we could have met up. Next time:)

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  2. I cannot even fathom my legs carrying me more than 26.2 miles. Although know that I think about it, I usually walk about 10 more miles in the parks after a marathon, so what's another 20 more at that point? ; )

    Awesome job on your first Ultra!

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    1. Exactly! That was always my thought, what's another five after already running 26.2.

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  3. Congrats! All the cool kids are running ultras. Except me. I don't think my feet would love me anymore if I did that.

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    1. Thanks Wendy! Besides the black toenail my feet felt fine. I thought I recovered pretty well afterwards.

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  4. Congrats on completing your first ultra, Lacey! What an incredible feat to accomplish! Since I have yet to run more than 14 miles at a time, I cannot imagine running an ultra, which makes you extra amazing in my book.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! I think you are amazing that you were able to keep up with all your workouts during your whole pregnancy.

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  5. That is so awesome!! Congratulations in the amazing achievement!!

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  6. Wow Lacey that's a fantastic achievement! Interesting that you thought that the ultra runners were not as competitive I would have thought just the opposite!

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    1. Yes they were very friendly and we chatted to one another when anyone would pass another runner or even run with them for a little.

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  7. Great job on finishing 4th in your age group for your first ultra!

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  8. GREAT job, Lacey!!!! That's so awesome. IF I were to ever run an Ultra, the 50k is as high as I'd go. I don't think my knees could withstand much more, LOL!!

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  9. That is fantastic! Congrats on a great finish :)
    It is amazing you can run that far and not feel sore, pretty awesome. It is nice you had such great course support :)

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  10. Great job! Sounds like a good first Ultra since there were so many aid stations.

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  11. Awesome job! I'm so glad that you liked the race and had no pain. What a relief!!

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  12. OK... I dont think I've ever read a Ultra recap that was this smooth. That's awesome! Glad everything worked out so wonderfully. Kudos to the volunteers for keeping all the aid stations going - that had to be so nice!
    ..... clapping in loud applause.....

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! Just bc everything went so smooth I'm kind of scared to do another one bc I feel like I won't have the same outcome. We will see though.

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  13. congrats, Lacey! this is such an incredible accomplishment!!

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  14. We did it! You rocked the race Lacey! I am so proud of you! Miles fly by with good friends as you don't even think about how far you have run. We finished in the top 19% of the entire race entrants too! Thankfully, you did not DNS or DNF as I would have had to run all those miles by myself 2 week after my marathon.

    Sorry, you took a tumble and I didn't catch you that one time. However, I am glad you didn't pull me down to the ground or get hurt! Your battle wound will disappear.

    I hope I made you laugh when I said, I need to stop to take my pants off! Yeah! I was too hot! You say funny things when you are in the woods after a while.

    We passed so many runners in the last 10 miles and we just kept moving right along including passing 3 more runners in the last mile and 1/2. 50K is a long way! You got to pace yourself people! Like you I actually felt better after the ultra than after a marathon. It was fun adventure to share with you on your first ultra!

    Congrats on being 4 out of 34 runners in your age group that finished too! We were only 9 minutes way from 3rd which is not much in an ultra. Good luck at Disney!

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    1. Thank you for staying with me thru the whoever race. Glad to have shared the experience with you. I couldn't have done it without you.

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    2. You are welcome as I was not going to let my running buddy down! I believe you would have found the finish line without me, but the mental challenge would have been a lot harder if you were out there on your own.

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  15. Congrats Lacey! What a great accomplishment! You are motivating me to run one...it's on my bucket list!

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    1. It was on my bucket list. One more thing I can check off. Hope you get to one day.

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  16. Congratulations, Lacey! I am glad your first ultra was such an excellent experience! In a past life, I ran trail all the time and did a 50k and a 50 miler. My thoughts on my 50 miler are the same as yours- I'm not sure I want to do it again because it was such a PERFECT day that I can't imagine anything could top it!

    I don't remember being sore after my 50 but I had two huge blisters on the outsides of my big toes and they actually left a scar for quite awhile! TMI!!!??? :)

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    1. No blisters for me, but I do have one black toenail. Not sure if I will ever do a 50 miler. Maybe if my friend would run one with me. I couldn't do it by myself.

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    2. I ran it with a friend and we talked the whole time. If you found someone to do it with, I am sure it would be a wonderful experience! Also, my longest training run was 30 miles. I did a lot of back to backs- like 20 on Sat and 12 on Sunday. Things like that.

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  17. Wow!! So awesome! I'm glad it went so well for you. :)

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    1. Thanks Jaime. I was very happy everything went smoothly.

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  18. Congrats on an awesome job! I do want to eventually do an ulta but I need to get more comfortable with the marathon first

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    1. Marathons and ultras atmospheres are so different. I really enjoyed it, I think you would too.

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  19. Congrats on a great race! Im so glad it went well for you. And 4th in your AG is awesome!!!

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    1. Thanks Lisa. Yeah it would have been awesome if it was third but that's ok.

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  20. Congratulations! This looks like such a pretty course and a great event with all of the aid stations. If I were to run a 50k, this looks like a great contender!

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    1. I think it was a great first ultra experience bc of all the aid stations available and the course was not hilly.

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  21. I can't ever imagine hitting the 10 mile mark of a run and not "feeling" it, much less the 18 mile mark! So happy for you that this was such a great experience!

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    1. Thanks Shelley.I was so surprised it went alot faster than I thought it would. Time flies when you have a friend to chat with along the way.

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  22. Congratulations, Lacey! I'm so happy you had such a great race experience. It seems like all the stars and hard training you did aligned for an awesome day. I've heard the same thing about ultras, where the vibe is more laid back and non-competitive than marathons. I think I'd love running in a race with a vibe like that.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. Yes the vibe was much different. It made for a great race!

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  23. Oh my gosh!! This is amazing! So much running!! Wow. Very impressive! Well done Lacey! :)

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  24. Congrats Lacey! You did it! I'm so happy for you. It sounds like it was a really incredible experience. I would love to run an ultra one day, but not for a while.

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  25. Congratulations Lacey! Sounds like a great experience for your first ultra. This is definitely a bucket list experience for me. And it does seem like ultra runners are super encouraging and inclusive. I joined a FB group for trail and ultra runners and it's one of the friendliest places on the Internet! So happy for you and what a great result.

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  26. Yay! Congrats!! I wanted to sign up for this one, but our Disney cruise ended the day of the race so sadly it wasn't possible. It's definitely on my bucket list!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.