Yesterday, I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I tried my hand at my first ultramarathon, tackling The Runner’s Flat 50K. My recap is as follows:
This is a segment of trail. The course was a beautiful 10-mile loop. The 50K added a .3 loop around a bag drop/aid station. There was a nice segment of all new trail blazed just for this race. There were a few issues: there was one new segment that had a ton of toe-biting stump segments that tripped up a lot of people and, when the course was done, my Nike+ GPS watch clocked in at 29.77 miles. Overall, though, this was a great course for a first-time ultramarathoner. Pretty flat and pretty fast. The course was marked very well with pink flags in the right and caution tape to direct us when there was a big fork in the trail.
The Runner’s Flat is a great group of people and their volunteers were awesome! The race had about 150 people between the different events (10 mile, 20 miles, 50K, and a kid’s run), so it was fairly small. Still, everybody knew what they were doing and there never seemed to be any confusion.
The aid stations were stocked, as you can see, with all kinds of good food. Bananas and Huma gels were my go to (review/rationale on that later this week), but they also had oranges, pretzels, M&Ms, other gels, water, Gatorade, and Coke. This was much different than the aid stations I’ve seen at marathons…and I liked it! After the race, instead of medals, they gave out beer glasses, to be filled for free at Single Speed Brewing, and enjoyed with chili and live music.
I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to go for me. I’d never done a trail race and I’d never done an ultra before. So, like I posted on Friday, I just wanted to finish and not feel like I had one foot in the grave at the finish line. I ran most of it but, by the end, I was pretty much walking any uphill segments. Also, I took my first ever fall on one of those toe-biters I mentioned in the course review. I feel pretty good, then, about my 5:12.09 finish time. And I am able to navigate stairs and was able to work today without being super impaired! The winner won in 3:21! That’s flying! And, again, I managed to stumble to a 3rd place age group placement! And I feel I should get some bonus points for having people compliment my beard. I told them I heard there was a Rob Krar lookalike contest.
Overall, I am very happy with this race and my performance in it. I will definitely consider running it again next year!
All photos taken from The Runner’s Flat 50k facebook page.