I'm an ultra marathoner! On April 24, I took on the 50k distance for the first time on a non-technical dirt trail in Willard, Missouri. I knew I was fit, but I also knew how much could go wrong in a race of this distance! Lucky for me, things went right for 27 miles and I fought through the final 4 miles well enough to land an overall person win, an overall women's Missouri state record, a course record, and a killer runner's high. My official time was 3:34:41, which is currently listed as the top 50k time by a North American female so far in 2021, so check out this website before they add Des Linden's time! [update: a friend told me that Des's time won't be included because her event was not a race, but an event set up specifically for her, so I am #1 for the time being!]
|Andrew & Colin both broke the previous men's|
course record & set single age state records!
I ran most of the race with my friends Colin and Andrew, and I definitely couldn't had done it without them...the trail pretty much looks the same for the entire race. Colin and I did months of back-to-back long runs together to prepare for this day, and Andrew was our mobile DJ with a very fun playlist (I mean, I was singing Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" at mile 14). We got separated when I stopped to pee around mile 18, which only took me 14 seconds per Strava. After that when I was trying to chase Colin back down before the next aid station (so that my family, who awesomely came to every aid station, didn't think I was fading) and trying to keep my pee stop mile under 7:00 (because at that point I was still naive enough to be confident that I was going to keep all my miles under 7:00), I lost Andrew. I couldn't quite reel in Colin until he stopped at a porta potty around mile 21, then when he did I suddenly found myself leading the race!
27 miles of the race felt great, then I ran out of gas. I will take nutrition differently the next time I run a 50k, because I had 1,000 calories lined up to take in but only managed about half of them; considering I take 400 during a marathon, 500 was not cutting it. I didn't have any stomach/GI upset, but I felt extremely full from so much liquid - like I'd just eaten Thanksgiving dinner! - and couldn't get any more in (my period also started about 12 hours after the race finish, which likely contributed). I passed 13.1 in 1:29:19 and 26.2 in 2:58:10, which were both ideal because I was aiming to average 6:45 pace for the whole shebang, but my final 4 miles were not so hot (7:25, 7:27, 7:45, 7:47 - although they are also all incline), so I lost my super-amazing-perfect-day goal of breaking 3:30 there, but I made it in!
|The course pretty much all looked like this, but I|
was well aware of what I was in for
My verse for the race was: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9. Tackling 31 miles for the first time was scary even though I knew I was well trained! I mostly tried not to think about the distance, or thought it was only 5 miles more than a marathon.
However, I take back all the times leading up to this race that I said, "It's only 5 miles more than a marathon." I am sure I have a lot to learn about the 50k, but from this one I think it's a very different race! I thought 6:45 pace was very reasonable given that I only slow down about 15 seconds/mile from the half to full marathon, and I think I'm in shape to run 6:15 pace for a road marathon right now (although this race was on dirt), but the final 4 miles sure taught me a lesson. My body was like, "wait, we always stop running by now", lol!
Race results are here (type in "50K" under division).
North American 50k top performances are here.
State 50k records are here.
Course records are here.
My Strava activity is here.
- Before it all began
- What's a taper without a crisis?
- What's a race morning without a 2 a.m. wake up?
- Out (miles 1-15.5)
- Back (miles 15.5-31)
- Aftermath of the dream
- Nutrition lessons
- Zero chafing gear