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